What Property Managers Should Know About Service Animals

When it comes to rental properties and service animals, there can sometimes be a controversy. While one party needs the physical assistance to live, the other party can be concerned about property damages that can come with pricey future repairs. So, are service animals in the clear when it comes to renting a condo? What should tenants take into consideration with a potential tenant with an assistant animals? In this article, we breakdown the three different “service” animals and the legality claims behind leasing with this special situation.

A Landlord’s Guide to Assistance Animals

There’s a lot of confused notions people make when it comes to “assistant animals.” In fact, there are three different types of assistance animals that serves it own unique functions for different types of people or patients that them. Here we breakdown the three types:

Service dogs

Service dogs are generally trained for individuals with a disability. They are trained as guide or signal dogs specifically for those who have visual or hearing impairments, immobility, mental disorders, and even those who suffer from seizures.

Therapy dogs

In a nutshell, therapy dogs are trained to engage and provide many people with support and comfort. They are trained for a variety of environments, experiences, and people. Sometimes they can be found at schools and hospitals including nursing homes.

Emotional support animals

Also known as support animal or assistance animal, emotional support animals (ESA) can provide a number of benefits to an individual suffering from a mental health condition or emotional disorder. Unlike service dogs, ESAs are not required to perform any particular tasks or physical duties. These type of support animals are usually dogs, but they can sometimes be cats or other animals.

Federal Fair Housing Act (FHA)

So, here’s the big question: Which type of assistance animals are legal to live with their owner in rental property? According to the Federal Fair Housing Act (FHA) which bans any discrimination of race, color, religions, sex, nationality, familial status, and disability in any housing practices states, “… any person with a mental or physical disability cannot be turned away from housing with their service animal or support animal.” Yes, service animals and emotional service animals are granted the right to live on a tenant property. This discloses therapy animals, of course.