Skip to Content

Get a FREE assessment of your rental property. Start here!

Get a FREE assessment of your rental property. Start here!

Your Rights as a Renter with a Service Animal

Disabled Van Buren Renter in Wheelchair with Service DogIf you are a Van Buren renter and have a service or emotional support animal, knowing your rights is important. Numerous renters are ignorant if they can keep a service or emotional support animal in their rental homes, no matter the property owner’s rules. This blog post will talk about the laws that protect renters who have service or emotional support animals. We will also furnish tips on communicating with your property owner if there is an issue with keeping your service or emotional support animal in your home.

What is a service or emotional support animal, and what rights do you have under the law?

Service animals are defined as animals trained to perform tasks for individuals with disabilities. These undertakings can include but are not limited to guiding people who are blind, alarming people who are deaf, pulling a wheelchair, alarming and safeguarding a person who is having a seizure, or relaxing a person with post-traumatic stress disorder.

An emotional support animal does not need to be trained to perform a specific service to provide benefits to its owners. Many companion animals can qualify as emotional support animals if you give a letter from your medical provider or therapist indicating that you need the animal.

Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), service animals are allowed in public places, including rental homes. Emotional support animals are not protected under the ADA but are allowed in rental homes, even if a landlord has a “no pet” policy. Service and emotional support animals are not regarded as pets under the law, and therefore, property owners cannot charge pet fees or deposits for them.

How to handle deposits, fees, and other costs associated with having a service or emotional support animal.

If you have a service or emotional support animal, you are not expected to pay any pet fees or deposits. However, you may be liable for damages caused by your animal. Let’s say if your animal chews on furniture or urinates on the flooring, or if you forgot to pick up the animal’s waste, you will probably be charged for those repairs. It is advisable to have a conversation with your property owner about your service or emotional support animal before signing a lease. This will help with avoiding any misunderstandings about your rights and responsibilities as a renter.

Some landlords may ask that you show proof of insurance for your service or emotional support animal. This is not required by law, but it is something you should be prepared to address with your Van Buren property manager.

What to do if your landlord tries to evict you for having a service or emotional support animal.

Assume your landlord attempts to evict you (or refuses to rent to you) for having a service or emotional support animal. Due to that, you may have grounds to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The department’s Civil Rights Division enforces the Fair Housing Act, which restricts discrimination in housing based on disability.

You can also file a complaint with your state’s attorney general’s office or the human rights commission. These agencies can examine your complaint and take legal action against your landlord if they see that you have been discriminated against.

If you are confronting eviction because of your service or emotional support animal, it is essential to seek legal help straightaway. An experienced attorney can assist you with figuring out your rights and options under the law.

Resources for further information on renters’ rights and service or emotional support animals.

For more information on your rights as a renter, you can contact the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). HUD enforces the Fair Housing Act and can investigate complaints of discrimination in housing.

You can also get further information on service and emotional support animals at the ADA National Network website. The ADA National Network is an asset for information and technical emotional support on the Americans with Disabilities Act.

 

You and your service or emotional support animal can reside happily in your rental home by understanding your rights. But if your landlord is standing in the way of your privileges, it might be time to move to a spot managed by professionals who comprehend and follow the law. Browse our listings for service animal-friendly rental homes in your area.

We are pledged to the letter and spirit of U.S. policy for the achievement of equal housing opportunity throughout the Nation. See Equal Housing Opportunity Statement for more information.