Jo Ann Woodsum
The Law Offices of
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Words of Wisdom from the Leasing Diva

Consequences for Violation of a Commercial Tenant’s Dog Policy

Once commercial landlords have agreed with a tenant that dogs are permitted in the leased premises, during the lease negotiations, the commercial landlord will need to carefully review tenant’s dog policy.  Landlord will also need to consider what the consequences will be if there is a violation of such dog policy or other problems arising from dogs in the office project.  

Commercial landlords may wish to have a variety of solutions for any such violations.  

1. Monetary Fines

Some have a monetary fine system – for each violation (e.g., an “elimination” accident), a fine would be assessed against the tenant.  

2. Ban Specific Dogs

If a specific dog is a problem, then landlord could reserve the right to ban that specific dog from the office project.  

3. Short-Term Ban

If the tenant cannot seem to get their act together and there has been barking or other chronic irritations, landlord could consider reserving the right to institute a temporary ban on all dogs in the leased premises.

4. Absolute Ban

Others have a three strikes and you’re out policy; so if the dog policy is violated three times in a six-month period, then tenant forfeits its right to have dogs in the leased premises forever.  

5. Right to Have Dogs is Personal

Another thing commercial landlords should consider is making the right to have dogs in the premises “personal” to the named tenant.  So if the lease is originally with High Tech Unicorn, Inc. and landlord really wants to make the deal and has agreed to dogs,  if at some future date the lease is assigned or the premises are sublet, then the right to have dogs in the leased premises is voided.  This helps landlord avoid the issue of a potentially unknown tenant entity having dogs in the premises.

Leasing Diva’s word to the wise for landlords: Landlords should carefully review tenant’s dog policy and consider including same as an exhibit to the lease.  See my blog post about the 5 Keys for a Successful Tenant Dog Policy.  While commercial landlords are free to ban dogs in their premises, they must accommodate service animals.  See my blog post on Service Animals in the Workplace – What Every Commercial Landlord Should Know.

Pets at WorkJo Ann Woodsum