Dear Urban Diplomat: Can my landlord hike my rent because I have a dog?
When I moved into my apartment, the second floor of a Victorian semi, I signed a lease with a no-pets clause. Soon after, my brother scored a one-year work contract in the States and asked me to look after his corgi. I kept Trixie on the DL for a while (my landlord lives out of town), but a new neighbour recently ratted me out. Now, my landlord’s insisting I pay a $50 monthly fee to cover potential damages. If I don’t pony up, he says he’ll evict me for breaching my lease conditions. Do his threats have teeth?
All Bark, No Bite, Annex
No-pet clauses are a lot like the King streetcar during rush hour: useless. In this case, your landlord can’t legally evict you, regardless of what your lease says, unless Trixie causes property damage that you don’t repair, barks incessantly or poses a physical threat (not likely if she’s a corgi). The monthly fee, for its part, is bunk. It can’t be demanded according to the patron saints of renter fairness at the Landlord and Tenant Board. But I hope that poochy’s well behaved. If the unit’s in bad shape when you move out, your landlord can sue you for the damages.
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