One of the first conditions that a landlord must address for his rental is the question of pets. Will they be allowed? If so, which types of pets? Which breeds? While it is within a landlord’s right to refuse to allow pets, federal disability law stipulates that an animal is allowed in a rental if that animal is a service animal. In fact, a landlord cannot discriminate during the applicant vetting process based on a number of factors, one of which is an applicant’s disability.

General Considerations For Pets

In the event a pet is residing in your rental unit there are some important restrictions regarding pets. The first consideration is to have a separate written pet agreement. The written pet agreement should specify the type, breed, and name of any pet allowed on the premises. It is within the landlord’s legal rights to charge a reasonable monetary penalty for pets in the premises without the landlord’s permission, and this language should be included in the lease agreement.

Pets Capable Of Causing Damage

Oregon has specific language in the landlord tenant statutes that addressed pets capable of causing damage and kept on the premises. As per O.R.S. § 90.405 provides the landlord with certain rights to terminate a rental agreement when such a pet is on the premises without the landlord’s permission.

Specifically, “a pet capable of causing damage to persons or property” means an animal that, because of the nature, size or behavioral characteristics of that particular animal or of that breed or type of animal generally, a reasonable person might consider to be capable of causing personal injury or property damage. Damage may include water damage from medium or larger sized fish tanks, or other personal injury or property damage arising from the environment in which the animal is kept.

The statute states that if the tenant violates the rental agreement and keeps a pet on the premises that is capable of causing damage to persons or property, then the landlord may deliver a written notice specifying the violation and stating that the tenancy will terminate on a date not less than 10 days after the delivery of the notice unless the tenant removes the pet from the premises prior to the termination date specified in the notice. If the pet is not removed by the date specified, the tenancy will terminate and the landlord may take possession in the manner provided in O.R.S. §§ 105.105 to 105.168.

Furthermore, if the tenant violates the rental agreement for substantially the same reason (i.e. having a pet capable of causing damage to persons or property without permission) within a six month period then the landlord may terminate the rental agreement upon at least 10 days' written notice.