Landlords and property managers have several valid reasons why they might want to include a pet policy in their lease agreements. Pets can cause damage to property and compromise the property’s hygiene standards. They can also be a nuisance to other tenants (like a barking dog) or even a threat to their safety.
Even with a no-pet policy in place, it is not uncommon for a tenant to show up with a little puppy without your approval. And while this may be a clear violation of their lease agreement, you may or may not be able to evict them for violating the terms of their lease.
When a tenant has the right to keep a pet
The federal Fair Housing Act prohibits landlords and property managers from discriminating against tenants based on, among other things, their physical and mental limitations. This means that you cannot lock out or evict a tenant for bringing a service or support animal into their rental property.
Generally, a service animal is one that is specially trained to assist a disabled individual, like a guide dog that assists a visually impaired tenant. An emotional support animal, on the other hand, does not have to undergo specialized training. Rather, the animal must be necessary to help the tenant maintain a standard of quality life. Thus, while bringing the animal into the property, the tenant must provide a doctor or a therapist report stating that they need the animal to help with a specific disability.
While most service or emotional support animals are dog, the law does not limit application to dogs. A tenant can bring any animal into the rental property for support as long as doing so is reasonable under the law and the prevailing circumstances.
So, when can a landlord evict the tenant for bringing a pet?
With that said, you may (generally) evict a tenant for keeping an animal that violates a no-pet policy in a lease agreement if they are not using the animal as a service or emotional support animal. Learning more about Illinois landlord-tenant laws can help you protect your rights and interests when taking such action.