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Your Rights as a Renter with a Service Animal

Disabled Perrysburg Renter in Wheelchair with Service DogIf you are a Perrysburg renter and possess a service or emotional support animal, it is necessary to know your rights. Many renters are not aware that they can keep a service or emotional support animal in their rental homes, regardless of the property owner’s rules. This blog post will analyze the laws that protect renters who have service or emotional support animals. We will also provide 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 responsibilities can include but are not limited to guiding people who are blind, bringing awareness to people who are deaf, pulling a wheelchair, alerting and protecting a person who is having a seizure, or calming 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. Lots of companion animals can qualify as emotional support animals as long as you obtain a letter from your medical provider or therapist that indicates you need the animal.

Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), service animals are acceptable 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 considered 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 mandated to pay any pet fees or deposits. On the flip side, you may be responsible for damages caused by your animal. For example, if your animal chews on furniture or urinates on the flooring, or if you leave the animal’s waste, you will likely be charged for any repairs. You must also have a conversation with your property owner about your service or emotional support animal before signing a lease. This will significantly lessen misunderstandings about your rights and responsibilities as a renter.

Some landlords may request 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 discuss with your Perrysburg property manager.

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

Presume your landlord intends to evict you (or refuses to rent to you) for having a service or emotional support animal. Because of 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 prohibits 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 may verify your complaint and take legal action against your landlord if they deem that you have been discriminated against.

If you are facing eviction because of your service or emotional support animal, it is advisable to seek legal help as early as possible. An experienced attorney can help you learn 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 communicate with 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 explore more information on service and emotional support animals at the ADA National Network website. The ADA National Network is a place for information and technical emotional support on the Americans with Disabilities Act.

 

You and your service or emotional support animal can live comfortably in your rental home by learning your privileges. But if your landlord is standing in the way of your freedom, it might be time to move to a place managed by professionals who understand 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.