Can I be evicted due to my barking dogs?
Question Details: I have a neighbor who has reported my dogs barking on 2 separate occasions. In one case, they have a 5 second video and the other complaint is based on a lie because I was with them the entire weekend when the complaint was made. The lease states, "The animal must not disturb the neighbors or other residences, regardless of whether the animal is inside or outside of the dwelling". This has never happened in any other apartment within the 4 years of owning the dogs. The landlord is threatening eviction if happens again but I feel helpless because I'm not home when this has happened. What are my rights as a tenant? I'm feeling emotionally stressed worrying about this and who might be outside my door at all times and feel eviction is too strict of a punishment as this follows me forever just for 1 person who has a temporary issue. I move out in 3 months.
Yes, you can be evicted for barking dogs. First, even without a lease provision about barking dogs, barking dogs can be considered a form of "disorderly conduct": behavior that reduces the "quiet enjoyment" (ability to use and enjoy their rental units without disruption or harassment) of other tenants; disorderly conduct is grounds for eviction. Second, you cite a lease provision which specifically states that your dogs must not disturb neighbors, so if they are disturbing neighbors, you are violating your lease, and violating your lease is also grounds for eviction. Whether harsh or unfair or not, eviction would be legal.
While I don't practice in TX, I practice landlord-tenant law in NJ and I have in fact evicted tenants when their dogs or other animals disturb their neighbors.