For tenants with pets, fear of eviction is real

This vintage typwriter is our featured image.

As a little kid, I always wanted a pet. But I couldn’t have one. For one thing, I was horribly allergic to just about everything. If I patted or got licked by a dog, I had an asthma attack or broke out in hives. If I got scratched by a cat, I got an antihistamine reaction.

When I was 10, everything changed. We got a cat. Her name was Tiger. We got her from some friends that were moving to Saudi Arabia. She was supposed to live in our attic.

Eli, the In Brief Legal Writing Services mascot.
In Brief Legal Writing Services mascot Eli catching up on the latest news. Photo by Alexandra Bogdanovic

And she was only supposed to stay with us long enough to eradicate the mice that were running rampant in our apartment. She never caught a mouse. And I had her for 17 years.

It’s a good thing our landlord was cool with it. That’s not always the case.

The case of the selective ‘no pets policy’

In an article I came across the other day, the author answered an interesting question about an allegedly selective “no pets policy.” Specifically, the reader who submitted the question to The New York Times “Ask Real Estate” page, wanted to know if his (or her) new landlord could make good on a threat to evict him (or her). The alleged threat to do so  is based on a claim that the reader has a pet and is therefore in violation of his (or her) lease.

In this case, the reader lives in a “rent-stabilized apartment” in Brooklyn. His (or her) chihuahua has also lived there for the past 10 years.

Based on the information provided the short answer is “no.” You can read a more detailed explanation here.

In the same article, you can also learn why the new building owners are well within their rights to extend “pet friendly” leases to some new tenants, but not to others.

If there’s one thing scarier than getting kicked out of your home…

Being homeless is a frightening prospect for anyone. But if there’s one thing scarier for an animal lover, it’s being forced to choose between their home and their pet.

With that in mind, I’m including a list of resources below  that you can consult if you or someone you know is facing eviction. Please keep in mind that this material is provided strictly for informational purposes and is not legal advice.

Don’t let the bed bugs bite — it’s illegal!

This vintage typwriter is our featured image.

It’s official. Connecticut has a bed bug law. Or an anti-bed bug law. Or a bed bug extermination law. Or something like that.

On October 1, the new law, officially known as An Act Concerning The Rights And Responsibilities Of Landlords And Tenants Regarding The Treatment Of Bed Bug Infestations, took effect.

It sounds self-explanatory, right? Well in one sense, it is. But then again, nothing is really simple when lawmakers/politicians get involved. I mean in all honesty, it shouldn’t take half a page just to summarize a law.

Eli, the In Brief Legal Writing Services mascot.
In Brief Legal Writing Services mascot Eli catching up on the latest news. Photo by Alexandra Bogdanovic

But in this case, it does. Go figure.

Luckily, it won’t take me nearly that long to get to the point. So here’s the deal:

If you own certain types of rental units specified by law, there are certain things you are now legally obligated to do in the event of a potential or actual bed bug infestation. Some are fairly obvious. For example, you must give your tenants advance notice when you are going to inspect the premises or have it treated. You must also pay for the inspection and any necessary treatment. You must get help for any tenants that are physically unable to “comply with preparation for inspection or treatment procedures.”

As an owner of an applicable rental property in Connecticut, you are prohibited from renting it if you “know or reasonably suspect it is infested.” You must also advise current tenants about infestations, and provide requested information about recent bed bug inspections to prospective tenants.

As the landlord, how you decide to get rid of the bed bugs is up to you. You can do it yourself or you can hire a “pest elimination specialist” do it for you.

Under the new law, tenants have certain responsibilities as well. These include:

  • Advising the landlord about potential or actual bed bug infestations
  • Providing access to the dwelling
  • Assuming any costs of preparing the dwelling for inspection/treatment
  • Following instructions regarding the elimination or control of the infestation; or paying “additional costs arising from noncompliance”
  • Not removing infested material from the premises without permission

The act also lists “remedies”  for landlords and tenants who don’t play by the rules. These include but are not restricted to a $250 fine for “non-compliant landlords” and potential eviction for uncooperative tenants.

Some Interesting Facts About Bed Bugs

Interestingly, as the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) notes, bed bugs do not carry disease or pose “serious medical threat” to most people. And contrary to popular belief, their presence is not necessarily indicative of an unclean environment — although they do like to hide in clutter.

From what I understand, they also like to travel and can be found throughout the world.

Unfortunately they love to bite us while we sleep — prompting our desire to eradicate them from our lives. Aside from that, they seem to be annoying but relatively harmless creatures.

And now that we know what to do about them, I have another suggestion for my state legislators. How about a law governing the elimination of stink bugs?

Just saying…