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Your Rights as a Renter with a Service Animal

Disabled Pocatello Renter in Wheelchair with Service DogIf you are a Pocatello renter and have a service or emotional support animal, knowing your rights is vital. Numerous renters are uninformed that they can keep a service or emotional support animal in their rental homes, not considering the property owner’s rules. This blog post will tackle the laws that protect renters who own service or emotional support animals. We will also present 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 persons with disabilities. These duties can include but are not limited to guiding people who are blind, alerting people who are deaf, pulling a wheelchair, alarming and securing a person who is having a seizure, or comforting a person with post-traumatic stress disorder.

An emotional support animal doesn’t have to be trained to perform a specific service to provide benefits to its owners. Numerous companion animals can qualify as emotional support animals if you acquire a letter from your medical provider or therapist confirming that you need the animal.

Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), service animals are accepted 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 defined 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 supposed to pay any pet fees or deposits. But despite that, you may be in charge of damages caused by your animal. For example, if your animal chews on furniture or urinates on the flooring, or if you ignore to get rid of the animal’s waste, you will certainly be charged for those repairs. Before signing a lease, it is imperative to have a conversation with your property owner about your service or emotional support animal. This can effectively reduce misunderstandings about your rights and responsibilities as a renter.

Some landlords may insist that you show proof of insurance for your service or emotional support animal. This is not demanded by law, but it is something you should be prepared to talk about with your Pocatello property manager.

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

Suppose your landlord attempts to evict you (or refuses to rent to you) for having a service or emotional support animal. For that reason, 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 precludes 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 review your complaint and take legal action against your landlord if they find that you have been discriminated against.

Assuming you are confronting eviction because of your service or emotional support animal, it is imperative to seek legal help right away. An experienced attorney can assist you with knowing 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 track down more information on service and emotional support animals at the ADA National Network website. The ADA National Network is a resource for information and technical emotional support on the Americans with Disabilities Act.

 

You and your service or psychological support animal can live pleasantly in your rental home by learning your rights. But if your landlord is stepping in the way of your freedom, it might be time to move to a place managed by professionals who respect 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.