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The Challenge of Subletting From a Pet Owner

The Challenge of Subletting From a Pet Owner

My wife and I had a great visit from Robin, a dear college friend, recently. While she was here Robin’s son called several times to ask her opinion about an apartment he wanted to sublet in Columbus, Ohio where he works as a CPA. The current tenant (I will refer to him as the sublandlord) was moving out to get married and had a rather large dog. The dog had done some damage to the apartment. Robin’s son loved the apartment, but was concerned about the doggie damage.

Having a real estate attorney at the dinner table, Robin asked my thoughts. I suggested that her son have the landlord fully inspect the apartment before he took occupancy and make claim on the sublandlord’s deposit for the doggie damage. This way, Robin’s son could take possession with a clean slate. Landlord, however, would not agree to inspect the unit mid-lease, thereby exposing Robin’s son.

Plan B? Sublandlord had not only posted a security deposit, but also posted a pet deposit equal to 50% of the security deposit. I suggested that Sublandlord assign both deposits to Robin’s son outright so that he would not have to post his own deposit and then that money would be available at the end of the lease term to cover the damage. In addition, Sublandlord paid $40 per month extra rent as a pet fee to Landlord. I suggested that Sublandlord continue to pay that amount each month or, make a lump sum payment to Robin’s son for the balance due for the lease term.

There are very often creative, yet simple solutions for every perceived obstacle.


David Blattner

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