General Question

skfinkel's avatar

A renter brought a "pet" wild rat into my home--in a cage. Do I get rid of the rat only? or the renter as well?

Asked by skfinkel (13483points) September 8th, 2008

Aside from getting rid of the rat, should I get rid of the renter who brought this in?

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29 Answers

Gbach's avatar

if you can’t tell the difference between the two, I’d get rid of both. Or keep the rat? ;)

marissa's avatar

What does your rental agreement say? If it says ‘no pets’, is this the first time that the renter has broken the rules of the agreement or have they disregarded your rules in the past? Also, if you have or have had other renters, how have you handled ‘disobeying’ the rental agreement in the past? (this could be relevant, if you kick this person out and they try to sue you over it)

SuperMouse's avatar

I guess it depends on how tough it will be to find another tenant. Short of them brining a dinosaur into the place, I would probably look the other way if my tenants had a pet. Then again, before they moved in, the property stood vacant for six months and bled us nearly dry.

Mr_M's avatar

For starters, you’ll want to change your lease agreement wording for future renters so that something like this doesn’t happen again.

But what specifically is your issue? That the pet is not a cat nor dog? That it is wild? Suppose he had purchased the rat in a pet store. Would you feel the same way? Suppose he just TOLD you he purchased the rat in a pet store. Would you STILL have issues?

I assume he knows wild rats can carry rabies and has given the animal shots? I’d also want to see those papers. If his rabied rat bites a dog (or vice versa), YOU may be held responsible.

For ME, I’d want to know your answers to these questions.

poofandmook's avatar

@skfinkel: As a renter, I would say that it would definitely depend on the renter’s repuation. How long have you rented to them? Do they often break the rules? Has this rat done any damage to the apartment? Has the animal had shots? Does it look mistreated? If it’s a simple case of a usually good tenant bringing home a pet, then I’d say to tell them they have to get rid of it and if it happens again, you’ll be forced to ask them to leave. I wouldn’t kick them out on the first offense, as long as there’s no harm or damage done.

DandyDear711's avatar

Is it illegal to own a wild rat? Broken laws should be considered…

JackAdams's avatar

Pet rats have an undeserved reputation, and that’s sad.

They are cuddly and very cute (just like I am), and they CAN be tamed and trained to behave themselves. In fact, I would compare them to hamsters or ferrets, as far as the “lovability index” is concerned.

I knew a woman who had one that she got at a pet store.

She named him, “U. Dirty” after a popular expression never uttered by a deceased actor, when he was alive.

SuperMouse's avatar

@JA, my sons’ pre-school always had pet rats, the kids loved them and they were always very sweet. A wild rat on the other hand might freak me out a bit.

”...you gave it to my brother, now I’m gonna give it to you.

JackAdams's avatar

I will say this about them: They have miniature “beaverlike” teeth, that can do some major damage, if they aren’t fed, regularly.

Or, if you insult their mother.

DandyDear711's avatar

Here is another article… advising against wild rats as pets. http://www.hsus.org/animals_in_research/species_used_in_research/rat.html

I have found nothing that says it is illegal to own a wild rat. I have seen references that they are not a protected animal. So kill away, I guess!

Why have I bothered to do all this research? I am waiting for Enterprise to come pick me up to rent a car – they are very late!

Mr_M's avatar

You’re waiting for the Enterprise to come and pick you up? Capt. Kirk called and said he’d be a little late. DO make sure you wear your protective aluminum foil hat, though, in case he needs to reach you. :)

poofandmook's avatar

Mr_M: Captain Kirk died… didn’t you see Star Trek: Generations? ;)

JackAdams's avatar

poofandmook is correct. He died. Twice.

(I saw him die in the theater, and then again on my home TV set.)

skfinkel's avatar

The lease I have says, clearly, no pets. I reiterated this verbally.

If this were a domestically bred rat purchased from a pet store, I would be upset, but perhaps not so wildly furious. This is a rat off the street—put into a cage. The room they have it in is sealed off with a towel so I didn’t go in. I presume because it smells. I am more than a bit upset with this situation. (who knows what kind of pests this pest brought along with it?)

That being said, I don’t know which of my renters brought it in (I have several students in the house). And I think they don’t want me to know. Which is okay. I am willing to give him or her a second chance, but I am incredulous.

There are lines for the rooms, and kids who don’t have a place to stay—so finding another renter would not be a problem. I also would happily have an empty room rather than have someone with this poor judgment.

syz's avatar

Wild rats are an entirely different species than pet rats and are serious risk factors for disease transmission. But above and beyond the rat question, if the lease says no pets and he has a pet, then he needs to go. Forthwith.

Mr_M's avatar

Then you’re totally within your right to demand that the “pet” go by a certain date or else he goes. Don’t even get into whether the animal is carrying germs and what not. You said no pets, that means no pets of any kind.

allengreen's avatar

If you do not get rid of the renter and or rat, it is like giving them permission, implicitly.
Send them something certified mail, keep copies, get a RE lawyer—YOU CAN BE SUED IF THIS RAT BITES A NEIGHBOR.
Do it now!

JackAdams's avatar

@Mr. M: Not exactly “no pets of ANY kind,” Sir.

Respectfully, courts have held that GOLDFISH do not constitute a violation of a “NO PETS!” lease provision.

Why, I have no idea.

gailcalled's avatar

Can you contact the bldg inspector in your community and see whether he has some muscle? We had a white lab rat from the 6th grade science dept. spent a long time with us, but that was very different.

allengreen's avatar

Bldg inspector not, maybe animal control SPCA?

JackAdams's avatar

Assassination is always an option.

marissa's avatar

@skfinel “I also would happily have an empty room rather than have someone with this poor judgment.”
I’d say you just answered your own question, the problem will be in finding out who brought the rat in. Unless they are all on the rental agreement together and you can legally hold them all accountable for the actions of one (or more).

BTW, allen makes a good point about you being held liable, it could even bite one of the other roommates and a good lawyer might be able to find away to hold you liable for that. Also, the health department could probably be called to enforce the removal of the rat immediately, but I don’t think you want to bring too much attention to the situation, it could back fire on you.

susanc's avatar

Get rid of the rat first – the lease says, “no pets”, not
“no devious renters who sneak shitty pets into the house”.

Then get a management company to manage this rental.
It’s too wacky to manage yourself – you aren’t mean enough!

Note to collective: I know sk, and she’s fabulously kind.
I think stinkers like these renters confuse people who have her
kind of goodwill. Don’t you think she should have some help here?

allengreen's avatar

Get a management company for pete’s sake!

susanc's avatar

See? If allengreen and I both think something, you have to know it’s right.
SK, get some help. Ew. Rats. Horrid.

skfinkel's avatar

I love managing the rental. And am not nice at all.

gailcalled's avatar

@skfinkel; you could have fooled me (and I have had almost mumble years to notice.

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