My landlord came and did a carpet cleaning, but did not notify me in advance. Luckily I was there to remove my dog, an emotional support animal, from the premises in order to ensure she wouldn't get hurt by the chemicals. I have done research and learned that many chemicals present in carpet cleaner are deadly to dogs. If I had not been there to remove my dog from the premises, my dog could have died, especially considering her small size which makes her more vulnerable to the chemicals. Is it illegal for my landlord to endanger the life of my emotional support animal? If so, please point me to the law that says the landlord must provide a safe environment for my dog. I live in Utah.

  • What does your lease say? Normally landlords have the right to clean and inspect their property, but I would assume there should be advance notice. – Michael Jun 6 '17 at 0:46

There is probably not a law in Utah that prohibits the use of cleaning chemicals that are harmful to dogs without advanced notice. This would be particularly true if the landlord generally prohibits pets but your emotional support animal is an exception to that general rule.

If you let your landlord know that the chemicals are harmful to your dog and that you would like advanced notice in the future, you might have a negligence suit if the landlord failed to do so in the future and your dog was harmed. But, even then your landlord's duty of care would have to be balanced against your own duty to supervise your dog and keep it from harm.

As noted in another post, it also matters if the carpet is inside or outside your unit. If it is inside your unit, you are generally entitled to notice of the landlord's intent to enter, although the lease will usually provide for an exception in case of emergencies, which would not normally include carpet cleaning.

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There aren't any special laws about landlords, dogs, or support animals. There is an animal cruelty statute which could have been relevant, had there been injury to the animal. And likewise, you could sue the person if they negligently harmed the animal, assuming that the harm was foreseeable. One can presume that a defendant would dispute the claim of causality (or that it was foreseeable). There are laws against reckless endangerment, but those require deliberately ignoring danger, and also pertain to danger to a person.

Of course, there is the matter of entering an apartment. Utah Code 57-22-4 states

Except as otherwise provided in the rental agreement, an owner shall provide the renter at least 24 hours prior notice of the owner's entry into the renter's residential rental unit.

so you should look at the lease for any statement about advance notice.

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