I have a tenant with a dog and its was picked up recently by animal control. 3 citations were issued for lack of restraint and 2 other things. Went to court and of course the tenant was a no show. I asked and received 30 dys extention. My question is, can I give this tenant notice to vacate if he doesn’t pay the fines?

It depends on local laws and your pet policy that you make them sign before you allow them to have a pet. My pet policy (which is standard format in Socartes Forms Suite) states that I can give a 3 day notice if the tenant’s pet does not comply with local laws (section 13) or causes fines that are not paid by the tenant (section 23).

Each state will have its own Residential Tenancy Act that you will have to abide by first. That will tell you what you can and cannot get away with. Your lease, as long as it doesn’t negate the local residential tenancy act, can then say whatever you want it to say in regards to Pets. But if you have to go to court to try and enforce it, the judge will just enforce the RTA and not really care about your lease at all.

What you really need to be able to show is a Material Breach of your lease in regards to the pet. This means your lease has to be absolutely specific on what the tenant is or is not allowed to do. And with that stated, make sure you understand the process of informing the tenant of their breach and follow it to the letter. Then the judge has no alternative other than to entertain your lease, and ideally enforce its conditions.