So my bf and I have lived for 3 1/2 yrs on a month-to-month basis in the top floor apartment of a private house. The landlords are very elderly and used to live on the ground floor (this will be a key point). When we moved in, we had a cat. No problem with the cat; didn't mention anything about whether dogs were allowed, no biggie. We've been excellent tenants, having always paid rent on time, and despite several problems w/the apartment that the landlords took EONS to fix, we've never felt the need to report them to 311...they're just so OLD, we always feel bad :(
Last April, the landlady fell and broke her hip. Her and her husband left to go live...somewhere...and never returned. We were told literally NOTHING; no forwarding number, no idea when they'd be back, nothing. They had a family friend in the neighborhood who stops by every couple weeks and sweeps, brings the mail in, and (I presume) picks up the rent check when we leave it. Last July (landlords M.I.A. for 3 months at this point) we adopted a dog. Considering we had NO IDEA WHERE OUR LANDLORDS WERE, we had no way to run it by them, and considering they never mentioned anything about dogs either way, we figured what the heck.
Flash forward to this morning, I'm walking the dog. The landlords' son was downstairs and corners me, going on a tirade about how there's a serious problem with us having a dog, that the landlords have left "several messages" for us (nope), and that we have to either get rid of the dog or they'll have to get rid of us (his words, not mine). When I began to bring up the fact that they've been gone for about 9 months and we had no way to contact them, he cut me off and told me that I had was getting an attitude. Not wanting to get in a fight with an old man, I held my tongue. He gave me his phone $, saying that "MAYBE" we could work something out by increasing the rent "to cover the dog ruining the floors," but he "just wasn't sure." He demanded that either me or my bf call him in the next 10 days or "actions would have to be taken."
We're not getting rid of our dog. And if we can help it, we're not moving. Quite frankly, them kicking us out is incredibly stupid; they're getting a check every month for literally nothing...regardless, I was very upset and my bf is LIVID.
Considering the key factors (that we don't have a lease and that our landlords have been GONE for 9 months)...what are our rights?