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No summary judgment for tenant-landlord dispute over cats

Both Michigan animal lovers and rental property owners are following a case in which a woman faced eviction for owning a cat in a no-pet residence. Her residential lease agreement notwithstanding, the woman said that she had kept cats in her condominium for 11 years and had never received a single complaint. She claimed that she needed the cats with her to help her cope with emotional anxiety.

Upon learning of the cats living in the woman's unit, her condominium complex demanded that they be removed immediately and threatened her with eviction if this was not done. The resident responded with a doctor's letter stating that she was entitled to keep the cats under the Americans with Disabilities Act. The doctor said it was medically necessary because of the woman's mental illnesses. A psychologist working on behalf of the condo owners, however, said that the woman's conditions did not qualify as a disability under the Act.

The condominiums tried to evict the woman and her cats, but a judge ruled in 2010 that her need for the cats outweighed any harm that the condo complex would suffer. Prior to the trial, the woman was given psychological evaluations by both her own expert psychologist and one working for the condominiums. They both found that her significant anxiety problem interfered with her ability to function normally.

Landlord-tenant disagreements have been around since there were first landlords and tenants to disagree. A Michigan attorney with experience in working with tenant disputes may be able to help. Such a lawyer may be able to help settle arguments over property repairs; maintenance requirements and liabilities; or property clean-up. Assistance may also be available to solve sticky eviction situations.

Source: Courthouse News Service, "Trial for Cat Owner Threatened With Eviction", Jack Bouboushian, September 04, 2013

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