Landlords usually don’t want to have pets in their rental properties.
But it’s getting more frequent that tenants bring service animals or emotional support animals.
Should you accept it? Deny it? Make changes for it?
We have to follow the Fair Housing Act. I read the most recent legal low-down and summarize it here for you:
First of all, service animals ARE NOT PETS. You have to think of them as TOOLS for the person with disability.
- Landlord (and agent or property manager) can NOT legally deny an applicant based on the fact that the applicant has a service animal.
- Landlord can NOT ask for a larger security deposit because of the service animal. (A request to waive a pet deposit should be accommodated) But if property is damaged by the animal, landlord can recoup the expenses for any repairs.
- Landlord can ask for verification of the legitimacy of the animal (but should use caution and not make the inquiry in cases where the answer is obvious).
But landlords do have some rights, and HUD agrees:
- In some cases, restrictions on certain animals is reasonable and necessary, like when the animal would pose a direct threat to the health or safety of others.
- If the animal would result in significant physical damage to the property of others despite any reasonable accommodations.
- If the acceptance of the animal would impose an undue financial and administrative burden on the landlord