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Landlords must follow state and federal animal residency laws

Landlords must follow state and federal animal residency laws

| Jun 4, 2020 | Firm News |

There are laws that protect people with disabilities who need a service dog or an emotional support animal. Those laws extend to their living accommodations.

Landlords must follow laws that support tenants’ rights to own service dogs and emotional support animals. Understanding the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Fair Housing Act (FHA) can help you comply.

Tenant rights related to service animals and emotional support animals are confusing. Understanding the laws and requirements can help you meet your legal obligations.

American with Disabilities Act

The ADA does not recognize emotional support animals as service animals. According to Title II and Title III of the ADA, a service animal is any dog that is trained (or being trained) to support its owner’s special needs.

That includes support for their intellectual, physical, psychiatric, sensory or mental disabilities. It covers all public access issues. The owners of these animals have extra protections.

Tenant rights related to service animals and emotional support animals are confusing. Understanding the laws and requirements can help you meet your legal obligations.

Fair Housing Act

Another national law, the FHA, uses the broader, more inclusive term “assistance animals.” It protects housing rights for people who have service dogs and emotional support animals.

Landlords must provide “reasonable accommodations.” Service dogs and emotional support animals meet that standard. In most cases, you must allow residents to have them even if the building has a no pets policy.

Tenants must qualify for an emotional support animal

Emotional support animals are not service animals. People with anxiety, depression and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder must have a letter from a licensed mental health professional. Knowing your tenants’ rights can ensure you meet your legal requirements.