Email Dave Email
Residential Real Estate
May 1, 2020

Renters with Assistance Animals: What Property Owners Should Know

Sponsored Content provided by Dave Sweyer - Owner and Broker, Sweyer Property Management

These days, there may be some confusion regarding the laws surrounding service animals and emotional support animals for those who own rental properties. The department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) provides very detailed guidelines for property managers and owners to use so they may ensure they are in compliance with fair housing laws when it comes to renting to people who have these types of animals.
 
How is an Assistance Animal Defined?

Assistance animals fall into two categories - service animals and support animals. A service animal is defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) as a dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of a person with a disability. Other trained or untrained animals that do work, perform tasks, or provide assistance or therapeutic/emotional support for individuals with disabilities are typically termed support animals.
 
Proof of Assistance Animal Status

The Fair Housing Act (FHA) requires that landlords make reasonable accommodations for people with disabilities and this includes allowing service animals and support animals at rental properties. But, how do you know that an animal falls into one of these categories and isn't simply a pet that a person is trying to get allowed into a home it otherwise wouldn't be? Well, there are some screening questions that can be asked of prospective renters that conform with HUD guidelines and FHA requirements. These questions allow property managers and landlords to determine whether an animal qualifies as a service or support animal.
 
There are different criteria for qualifying service animals and support animals. While there is no documentation needed for a service animal, a landlord may ask what work or task the animal has been trained to do. Per the FHA, documentation can be requested for a support animal. These days, it is relatively easy for anyone to go on the internet, pay some money and get a certificate stating that their animal is a support animal. HUD has advised that these certificates are generally not sufficient to reliably establish the need for an assistance animal. Rather, it is advisable that landlords and property managers request documentation from legitimate, licensed healthcare professionals stating the assistance or support the animal will provide. It’s also important to keep in mind that the healthcare professional does not have to reveal the specific condition of the person in question, only the assistance or support the animal will provide and that the animal is necessary in their professional opinion.
 
What About Pet Fees, Breed Restrictions & Damages?

So, what does this mean for pet fees, breed restrictions and potential property damages? If an animal qualifies as an assistance animal, landlords may not charge fees for processing these reasonable accommodation requests. Exclusionary rules also do not apply to service and support animals. This means landlords cannot place limitations on the breed or size of these animals.
 
However, they can make limitations based on proven past behavior of the animal - i.e. if the animal destroyed a past rental or has a record of posing a threat to neighbors, it may not have to be allowed at a property. Landlords are also prohibited from charging pet deposits, fees or any other kind of surcharge for assistance animals. This does not, however, relieve tenants of responsibility for any damages caused by the animal at the end of their lease - they are still responsible for its conduct.
 
These rules and regulations can get quite tricky and in depth, especially for those who are trying to self-manage their investment properties. Experienced property managers are intimately familiar with these laws and know how to properly screen these types of animals while at the same time protecting property owners from inadvertently breaking any laws and protecting their properties should there be any animal-related damages.
 
Sweyer Property Management has exhibited continuous growth throughout the Wilmington, Leland and Hampstead areas while maintaining an excellent Google+ rating for customer service. To inquire about the company’s full-service management services or to take a tour of homes for rent in the area, visit them online at WilmingtonForRent.com
 
Please Like and Follow the Sweyer Property Management Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn Pages for property management tips and to see properties available for rent.
 

Other Posts from Dave Sweyer

Sweyer animated 300x250 ad
Ico insights

INSIGHTS

SPONSORS' CONTENT
Screenshot2022 01 06at338 162234623

Genesis Block Targets Contract Conversion with MED Week Event at The Wilson Center

Girard Newkirk - Genesis Block
Billcoleman lopw headshot

Reaping The Benefits Of Patience

Bill Coleman - Live Oak Private Wealth
Katiebraskett web

September 2022 Freight Market Update

Katie Braskett - MegaCorp Logistics

Trending News

Local Government Commission Does Not Approve Project Grace 

Johanna F. Still - Sep 22, 2022

State Legislature Candidates Share Views With Business Leaders

Cece Nunn - Sep 22, 2022

Application Denied: After LGC Setback, County Will Still Pursue Civic Project

Johanna F. Still - Sep 23, 2022

County Commission Candidates Participate In Power Breakfast Forum

Johanna F. Still - Sep 22, 2022

Work On Wilmington Seeks Nonprofit Projects To Complete

Staff Reports - Sep 23, 2022

In The Current Issue

Economist Studies What Makes Region ‘tick’

The role of regional economist appears suited for Mouhcine Guettabi’s skill sets and interests: it entails teaching, independent research, a...


MADE Winners: Functional Product Category

Functional Product Category winners are C3 Custom Golf, Port City Signs & Graphics Inc. and Polyhose Inc....


MADE Winners: Manufacturer Category

The Manufacturer Category includes companies that mass-produce goods mass-produced in the Wilmington area....

Book On Business

The 2022 WilmingtonBiz: Book on Business is an annual publication showcasing the Wilmington region as a center of business.

Order Your Copy Today!


Galleries

Videos

Trying to Grow a Business?
2020 Health Care Heroes
2020 WilmingtonBiz 100