My dog's gotten too large for the lease -- now what?

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Question:

Several months ago, a friend of mine's father was dying of cancer and asked us to take care of his puppy until he returned from getting treatment. He has yet to return and my lease states that any dog has to be under 17 inches and under 25 pounds, which this dog is not. I have grown attached to the dog and do not wish to give him up, but the apartment manager called us up to the office and told us that we have two weeks to get rid of the dog. How do eviction laws work? Is there any way we can break our lease?

Answer:

It sounds as though what you really want to do is leave your lair. If so, hang on to that dog and it seems your manager will accommodate you. After all, you were already told in no uncertain terms to get rid of the dog or get out of the place.

But there is a more forthright way out the door. Explain to your landlord that you have made a solemn promise to take care of your friends' pooch in their hour of need and you therefore cannot abandon the dog.

Be sure to ask the manager to terminate the lease; do not leave with a handshake alone. Bring your lease with you and ask the manager to write "Terminated" on it, date it and have everyone sign. That way, you will have proof that you were not evicted -- important information in a tight housing market. Your next prospective landlord is sure to check.

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