Unauthorized pet could lead to eviction, in normal times
Q: My husband and I own a duplex in Roselle. The duplex has two units with a fenced yard. Both tenants (units A and B) share the backyard. Both units have a private patio, but the large yard is not divided
Our lease stipulates "no pets." In December 2020, Unit B tenants purchased a dog without our knowledge and approval. When we were informed of this by the tenant in Unit A, my husband questioned the Unit B tenants who stated it was a "service dog" for her husband to prevent him from having seizures.
My husband researched service dogs and apparently there are papers issued stating that a dog is a trained service dog. When the tenant was asked for the paperwork, none was produced.
We feel the tenants broke the lease and they refuse to get rid of this dog, stating they are working on it. What are our options here as property owners? They let the dog run free in the yard and fail to clean up after the dog. We are getting numerous complaints from Unit A tenants.
Thank you for your insight.
A: I would make one more attempt, personally if possible, to determine whether or not the dog is an appropriately documented service dog. In the event the tenants continue to be uncooperative in providing proof of the dog's status, the next step would be to serve a 10-day notice on the tenants for failure to comply with the terms of the lease. This may encourage the tenants to either provide proof of the dog's status or relocate the dog.
If the 10-day notice doesn't motivate your tenants to take action, your next step would be to file an eviction complaint with the circuit court of the county the property is located in. As the complaint would not be based on failure to pay rent, I believe you could get this in front of a judge, even with the coronavirus eviction moratorium in place.
One problem may be, though, I'm not sure the sheriff of the county would follow through with the eviction -- even with an Order of Possession (eviction order). I would suggest a conversation with the sheriff of the county that you would file in before you file.
There's no sense in moving forward and incurring the time and expense of an eviction lawsuit if the sheriff would not act on the Order of Possession.
Q: I have a friend who has been living in an apartment for 33 years, signed a lease years ago and his rent has been $700. All I know for sure is that the building was sold and now the rent has doubled to $1,400. At this time with COVID restrictions, can the new owners double the rent or does my friend have any recourse in staying at the old rent?
The new owners are going to refurbish all apartments, but have not started on that as yet. My friend lives in Lake County.
A: Any analysis of your friend's situation must start with a review of the lease he signed. When was it signed? What period is covered under the lease? Sounds to me like he has been going month-to-month for some period of time.
Presuming your friend is now on a month-to-month tenancy, the rent can be raised to any amount the landlord desires, so long as the raise in rent is not retaliatory or discriminatory. Proper notice must be given, however, before the increase becomes effective. Written notice of the rent increase must be given at least 30 days prior to the end of the month for the increase to be effective the 1st of the following month.
In other words, if the landlord wishes the rent increase to become effective May 1, notice of the increase must be given to the tenant on or before March 30. Notice given on, say, March 15 does not become effective April 15; it becomes effective May 1.
I am not aware of any COVID restrictions that would impact raising of rent.
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