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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Posts
    7

    Default Landlord Won't Return Pet Deposit, No Damages to Property

    My question involves landlord-tenant law in the State of: Illinois

    Hi all,

    So my landlord decided that he will return my security deposit but NOT my pet security deposit, even though there has been no damages to the property. His reasons are that my dog was a problem for pooping in the yard and barking. The lease he made me sign had an "additional covenants and agreements" section where he listed that he won't return the pet deposit if there are "any problems/complaints" with the dog, which to me is very vague and unfair.

    For the first couple of weeks, I let my dog poop in the backyard (apartment) and I planned on picking it up on a weekly basis, until the landlord complained, then I decided to pick the poop up as soon as it came out. However, there were a few times (less than 10) throughout the entire year when I missed a poop and the landlord discovered it. As for the barking, my landlord claims that my dog "attacks" him and the other tenants when my dog is free in the yard, but in reality, my dog only barks. If they ignore her, she leaves them alone, and she have never physically touched them or anything, just barked.

    So my question is, can he actually keep my deposit for "problems/complaints" as listed on the lease, or does he need to provide a list of actual damages and costs? Furthermore, is it even legal to put such a vague condition in the lease to begin with?

    Thanks for the help!

    EDIT: Title should be "Landlord Won't Return Pet Deposit...", sorry about confusion.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Landlord Won't Return Security Deposit, No Damages to Property

    Quote Quoting yuanz90
    View Post
    The lease he made me sign had an "additional covenants and agreements" section
    Unless there was a gun to your head, or you were under threat of physical harm, no one "made" you sign a lease. Do yourself a favor and don't say it this way in court. You don't want to hear judges go on rants about people being "made" to do things. You signed a lease. Leave it at that, and work with the language of what you willingly signed.


    where he listed that he won't return the pet deposit if there are "any problems/complaints" with the dog, which to me is very vague and unfair.
    Then why did you sign it? (Judge is gonna wanna know the answer to that.)

    Unfair doesn't really play into it, since it IS part of the agreement you made when you signed the lease. You can certainly take the matter to court and see if the judge thinks it's vague, but the options you had were to (a) get clarification on anything vague, or, (b) negotiate anything you thought was unfair, or (c) take your business elsewhere and not sign the lease. Since you DID sign, the court is likely to feel that you both understood and agreed to the terms therein.


    For the first couple of weeks, I let my dog poop in the backyard (apartment) and I planned on picking it up on a weekly basis, until the landlord complained, then I decided to pick the poop up as soon as it came out. However, there were a few times (less than 10) throughout the entire year when I missed a poop and the landlord discovered it.
    Ok. so that would appear to be a problem. Don't see the court cutting you any slack here. If you missed some poop, you missed some poop. No one's implying that you did it maliciously, but it DOES give the landlord the upper hand.


    As for the barking, my landlord claims that my dog "attacks" him and the other tenants when my dog is free in the yard, but in reality, my dog only barks. If they ignore her, she leaves them alone, and she have never physically touched them or anything, just barked.
    So part of the issue will really boil down to what the judge feels constitutes a "problem", per the language of the lease. The judge may find the barking to be a disruptive issue, or they might not.


    So my question is, can he actually keep my deposit for "problems/complaints" as listed on the lease
    He can until you take him to court for a different outcome.


    or does he need to provide a list of actual damages and costs?
    He needs to provide whatever the judge asks him for.



    Furthermore, is it even legal to put such a vague condition in the lease to begin with?
    Sure it is. The burden is on YOU to get clarification on any terms you don't understand BEFORE signing, or, to take the matter to court to ask the court to rule on anything that the parties differ on.

    Thanks for the help!

    EDIT: Title should be "Landlord Won't Return Pet Deposit...", sorry about confusion.[/QUOTE]

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Posts
    179

    Default Re: Landlord Won't Return Security Deposit, No Damages to Property

    Some landlords charge a non-refundable one time fee for having a pet. Some charge $X per month extra for having a pet. Some don't even allow pets. You are lucky it was refundable to begin with. As for leaving poop once, to me this constitutes a problem. Barking also constitutes a problem. Our community has a $200 per occurrence fine for leaving poop out. Multiply that times 10 and this is how much you would have been fined here. Yeah it's up to the judge but I'd like to meet the small claims judge who thinks that some dog barking at someone or poop being left outside don't count as problems.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Posts
    7

    Default Re: Landlord Won't Return Security Deposit, No Damages to Property

    Thanks for the help. I guess it would be money thrown down the drain if I take this to court. He also made us pay $200 extra at the end of the lease (not related to pet deposit), and I think it was illegal. The thread is here: http://www.expertlaw.com/forums/showthread.php?t=159311

    Any help would be appreciated.

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