You have a no pets policy. That is great until someone tells you their dog or parrot is a service animal. What are the requirements for renting with service animals landlords need to know? If you are a landlord or a tenant who needs a service animal, there are certain things you should know about renting apartments with service animals.
Before you get tripped up in regulations or complications, it is vital to understand the rules to ensure you treat service animals correctly.
5 Things to know about renting with service animals
- Service animals are not pets: Service animals are not considered pets but rather assistive aids for individuals with disabilities. Therefore, landlords cannot apply pet policies to service animals.
- The Fair Housing Act (FHA): The FHA is a federal law that protects individuals with disabilities from discrimination in housing. The law requires landlords to allow tenants with disabilities to have service animals in their apartments, even if the building has a no-pets policy.
- Documentation: Landlords can request documentation verifying the tenant’s disability and the need for a service animal. However, they cannot request information about the tenant’s disability, medical history, or the animal’s training. This is part of the tenant screening process.
- Tenant’s responsibilities: Tenants with service animals must keep their animal under control and are responsible for any damage caused by the animal.
- Landlord’s responsibilities: Landlords must make reasonable accommodations to allow service animals in the apartment, such as installing ramps or allowing the animal to use an elevator. However, landlords are not required to make accommodations that would impose an undue financial or administrative burden on the property.
In summary, if you are a landlord or a tenant, it is important to understand your rights and responsibilities when it comes to service animals in rental apartments. Landlords must allow tenants with disabilities to have service animals in their apartments, and tenants must ensure that their animals are well-behaved and do not cause damage to the property. If you have any questions about how to provide the best services to your tenants regardless of your pet policy, then contact us today for a free consultation.