The Fair Housing Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act are two federal laws that all California landlords need to be familiar with. One of the most important issues with these laws right now is service animals and emotional support animals. When a tenant needs one of these animals, you cannot treat them like pets.
Understanding Service and Support Animals
Service animals help a person with a disability complete certain tasks that are necessary to living an independent life. Seeing Eye dogs, for example, are needed by people with vision problems. Emotional support animals help people with psychological or emotional issues, and they don’t have to be dogs. They can be any type of animal. These are different from pets. You are legally required to allow tenants with disabilities to move in with their service or support animals. Even if you have a no-pets policy, you must allow them or face violating federal law.
Pet Deposits and Pet Rent
Since these animals are not pets, you cannot treat them as pets. You cannot charge a pet deposit or a pet fee. You cannot charge extra rent every month and call it “pet rent.” The law looks at these animals as accommodations that a person with a disability needs in order to live in your property. You cannot apply the same requirements that you apply to pets.
Protecting Your Property
It’s legal to ask for documentation from someone who wants to move in an emotional support animal. This will usually be in the form of a letter from a doctor or other healthcare provider. The tenants are required to care for the animals, clean up after them, and ensure that they do not pose a risk to personal property or people.
Service animals have been used and accepted for a long time. Emotional support animals are still fairly new, and sometimes the law can seem complex. If you need any help with this issue or anything pertaining to the property management of your rental, please don’t hesitate to contact us at Glendale Property Management.