Service dogs and assistance animals are often an tough issue for landlords and property managers. But what happens when a service dog damages property? This week a landlord asks veteran landlord and property manager Hank Rossi how he handles damage from a service dog.
Dear Landlord Hank:
Service dog ruined the large grassy back yard. Looks like crap now. Do you try to maintain the yard or not. Summer time renters don’t water, and grass turns to dirt and in winter the dog turns it into mud. It was a main rental feature but, now?
Dear Landlord Bob,
I want my properties to look good all the time so I normally pay for landscape maintenance.
Service animals are a very touchy subject and I would proceed in this area with the help of an attorney that specializes in Landlord-tenant law.
You can give warnings (official and written notices) or evict tenant for property damage, excessive noise or if service animal threatens the safety of anyone.
If the service dog of your tenant has ruined your back yard, that is not something you have to put up with.
Your property is damaged and you have rights too.
Just make sure you have plenty of evidence (photographs of before and after, maybe some of dog in action, witnesses, etc) and an attorney to help you go forward.