January 2011 - Rented a townhome property that has an Association. Explained to owners of the property over the phone and prior to signing rental agreement we had three pets dogs under 25 lbs. Owner verbally stated they did not have a problem with the pets and agreed to our rental arrangement.
In addition, we payed an extra deposit defined as a, "pet allowance", to the owner.
June 2011 - Received a written letter from the owner with a copy of the Association's letter stating that, owner is in violation of the Associations Rules & Regulations, that is, " only two pets are allowed to reside in the home", and asking us to remove additional pets to comply with the Associations Rules & Regulations or we will need to terminate the rental agreement. Owners claim they had no knowledge of this Associations Rule & Regulation. We find their, no knowledge, claim hard to believe as they have been long term owners.
Question: Do we have any rights regarding this issue considering, we were honest with the owners and they had full knowledge of the three dogs prior to the rental agreement ?
Thank you for your consideration and we look forward to your expertise.
2 Answers from Attorneys
The assertion that the owner did not know nothing about the rules and regulations is pure bunk.
If the association's restrictions and rules are referenced in the lease and the 3 doss are not mentioned in the lease, and you have no other written ok by the owner for the 3 dogs, there is a problem. Most people renting condos and townhomes don't look at the association restrictions and rules because they usually don't think twice about it and that they're only tenants. So you at least asked. Every condo/townhome lease I've ever done incorporates the restrictions and rules and imposes them on the tenants to the extent they apply to occupants like tenants. Most associations insist the restrictions and rules be incorporated into unit/townhome leases. Anyhow, even if the owner "defrauded" you, your lease may not protect you if the dogs aren't mentioned even if the rules are against you. Do you have ANYTHING in writing where the owner acknolwedged you had 3 dogs? If not, and the owner is not willing to back you, you may need to go around the owner, explain the situation to the association and see if they would grant an exception for you at least for the remaining term of the current lease. Don't get your hopes up because associations don't like doing that, even if there is a "hardship".
PS if the restrictions and rules were NOT given to you by the owner when you signed the lease or prior, that may be some indication they were trying to hide the rule from you. And if you leased through any kind of agent, the listing may be helpful if still available because it would be the owner's listing through the agent. But unfortunately even if it exists and even if it says something, it may only say "dog ok".