Legal Q&A: Tenants gave away dog after paying pet deposit


Question: My tenants paid an extra deposit for a pet. They gave away the dog after two months. Now they are asking if the pet deposit could be returned.

Answer: You do not have to account for the use of the deposit until 21 days from the date they return possession of the premises, so you don’t have to refund any of the deposit.

Question: I rented an apartment to a young man; he signed a one-year lease and paid the deposit and first month’s rent in full.He moved in today and less than 24 hours later, he is requesting to get out of his lease because another apartment that he prefers became available. Is there any kind of buyer’s remorse on signing a lease?

Ted Kimball Kimball, Tirey & St. John LLP

Ted Kimball
Kimball, Tirey & St. John LLP

Answer: Your tenant is obligated to pay rent through the lease term or until the time the premises are relet, whichever occurs first. There is no buyer’s remorse.

Question: My tenant claims he paid the rent by mailing us a money order. We never received it, and he says we should have received it. Who would bear the loss if we do not find the missing payment?

Answer: Under most leases, it is the responsibility of the tenant to ensure the landlord receives payment. Since it is up to the tenant to choose the method of delivery, he or she bears the risk that the payment is in fact made. However, some leases determine the method of delivery. In those cases, the landlord may bear the risk that the payment reaches the landlord.

Kimball, Tirey & St. John LLP is a full service real estate law firm representing residential and commercial property owners and managers. This article is for general information purposes only. Laws may have changed since this article was published. Before acting, be sure to receive legal advice from our office. If you have questions, please contact your local KTS office. For contact information, please visit our website: For past Legal Alerts, Questions & Answers, and Legal Articles, please consult the resource library section of our website.

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