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Should You Allow Support Animals in Your Lease Agreement?

System - Friday, September 16, 2022
Property Management Blog

One in twenty adults in the US is battling some form of mental illness. This can cause questions when allowing support animals in the lease agreement. Especially when you have a no-pets-allowed policy already established.

Though certain circumstances would trump your no-pets-allowed policy. The question that is probably staring you in the face is whether to allow these support animals.

You could be facing the problem of trying to know which one is a real service animal and which one isn't. Are you able to turn people away with these support animals? Or are you obligated to let them on the lease?

This article will help you get the information you need to know. So, continue reading to find out.

Legalities You Face With Support Animals  

There are legalities when it comes to support and service animals. Especially if you deny them based on your no-pet policy. Usually, these types of animals are not considered pets as they have a job to do for the potential tenant.

Also, if you do deny them, you could face jail time and be fined for breaking the law. You could also get sued by the one you denied based on their support animal.

Now there are people out there who fake having a service or support animals. 

Knowing when a service animal is fake can be easy to spot. As a real service dog, it has been training. Things that would trigger a regular dog like other dogs, squirrels, and people would not bother it.

You won't be able to ask for certification due to the fact that the ADA doesn't require one for a service animal. There is a possibility that a license and registration are needed for the service animal. This depends on state and local laws.

In San Antonio, Texas, the animal would not need to register since it isn't required in Texas.

Service Animal vs Emotional Support Animal

Emotional support animals are different, as they wouldn't have to have training like service animals. They serve their owner by giving them emotional support. 

You will have the ability to get the ESA letter verified, but you cannot go to the therapist who issued it. This could potentially violate the confidentiality of the privacy of the patient. 

Yet, there are things that you can look for to confirm the letter.

  • Locate the LMHP license number
  • Find the state of the issued license
  • Look through the state's professional licensing website
  • Look for the ESA letter on the letterhead

A service animal takes care of the person it is guiding. This means sensing when they are having a symptom of their disability or alerting others about their person needing help.

Do You Need to Allow Every Animal?

If it is an animal that can pose a danger to the apartment, then you don't have to accept it. This would be like a horse or a deer. Of course, this would not mean a pit bull even though some people give them a bad rep.

Remember to keep up with your responsibilities of being a landlord. Which will include staying in line with the law on support animals.

Lease Agreements With Support Animals

Now that you know that you will have to allow support animals in your lease agreement, you can be a step ahead. Especially in spotting the ones that are faking it.

If you are looking at getting a property manager to help take the load off of your shoulders, then you can contact us!