Everything You Need to Know About Support Animals in Rental Properties

Everything You Need to Know About Support Animals in Rental Properties

The Fair Housing Act is in place to protect citizens who rent properties. It's also there to help those with support animals.

The act requires people with disabilities to be given reasonable accommodations. And that includes being allowed to have a support animal even if the property doesn't allow pets. 

If you want to learn more about the rules and laws regarding support animals in rental properties, keep reading.

Who Qualifies to Have Support Animals?

People with disabilities are entitled to housing just as much as anyone else. However, some need a support animal with them, and an apartment or other type of rental property may have rules that don't allow pets.

Under the above-mentioned Fair Housing Act, support animals aren't considered pets. But you have to be able to show that you have a "qualifying disability." 

Qualifying disabilities include; learning disabilities, mental illness, and mental retardation.

The disability needs to impede you from doing certain daily life activities like walking, working, and caring for yourself. Other disabilities include being blind, deaf, or if you have seizures.

The property management landlord must be notified, and a note from a healthcare professional is best to ensure you're approved to have the support animal.

What Animals Are Support Animals?

Almost any animal can be an emotional support animal. However, people mostly have dogs to help them. Some people use snakes, rabbits, and horses.

If a licensed mental health care professional decides that a pet is helping you cope with whatever problem you're dealing with, then the animal can be used as a support animal. 

How to Go About It?

To get approved to live with a support animal, you need to answer yes to two threshold questions. Those questions are:

Do you live with a disability or a physical or mental impairment that limits your ability to perform everyday tasks?. 

Does the animal provide assistance performing tasks or positively influencing your mental state? 

If you answer yes to both, you're eligible. 

Does the Landlord Have to Comply?

There are some times when a landlord doesn't have to comply and allow a support animal in the rental. If the building has four or fewer units and one of them is occupied by the owner. 

Suppose the animal is considered too big for the allotted space. Making accommodations for the support animal puts undue financial hardship on the owner. 

Suppose the animal threatens other tenants or causes substantial damage to the property. If the tenant doesn't meet the regular qualifications that other tenants must meet. 

Can You Be Charged an Extra Fee?

It's not legal for a landlord to charge a pet fee or an extra pet security deposit for a support animal. But if the animal does any damage, you can be sent the bill. 

What Now?

If you need a support animal, it's time to talk to your mental health practitioner. Have them state that a support animal is recommended for your situation. 

Then, let the landlord know and answer yes to the required questions. Now it's time to contact us to find a place.