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Ike

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Posts: 4
Reply with quote  #1 

Here is an article about this- I get how a dog or cat is an emotional support, but a ferret? a pig? a snake?  A lizard?  Really?

 

I think some of this is a scam and want to know what everyone does about this. 

http://myrentrates.com/advice/RentalHousingandEmotionalSupportAnimalsKnowtheLaw

LLinVA

Registered:
Posts: 212
Reply with quote  #2 
I think the emotional support animal people (both the tenants and the companies "certifying" or "registering" these animals) want to act like it's law, but I think it is like gluten problems - everyone thinks it applies to them when really it's only a very small fraction of the people claiming it, which means no one believes anyone, and it makes it much harder for people who legitimately have the problem. 

I have seen autistic people do much better with a pet pig (and dogs and cats). But most of it is complete bull. 

The ADA protects legitimate DISABILITIES and SERVICE DOGS have to be trained to do something specific to help with some part of the disability (alert owner to low blood sugar, an oncoming seizure, or guide a blind person). 

That article is confused. Within two sentences it says "with disabilities" then goes on to include emotional support animals. Unless the emotional support is directly related to and trained for a bona fide disability, this is incorrect.

We are very strict about pets: NONE. If you have any bad feelings about someone and the legitimacy of an emotional support animal, just say you found someone more qualified (they can't argue that at all or ask for proof because that would violate the privacy of your other applicants) or cite things such as their credit score or income not meeting your requirements. Don't even mention the animal at all.

It is best not to step in dog crap as opposed to planning ahead about how best to clean it off your shoes.
AccidentalRental

Registered:
Posts: 51
Reply with quote  #3 
I agree the Emotional Support Animal rule is being abused but I don't think the article got it wrong.  There are two federal laws that cover this issue and they have different definitions.  Hence the confusion.

ADA - covers "Service Animals" which is strictly defined as a dog trained and certified to perform tasks for a disabled person.
FHA - covers "Assistance Animals" which is a much broader definition and includes any animal that supports an owner who has a physical or mental disability.

Under the FHA law, a landlord must apply a two part test: 
  1. does the person have a disability and
  2. does the person need an assistance animal for the disability.

If both parts are met then you must allow an Assistance Animal with a few exceptions (e.g., the ESA would pose a threat to other tenants).  This trumps any "No Pets" policy.  

Can you inquire about the disability and the need for the ESA?

According to HUD:

A housing provider may not deny a reasonable accommodation request because he or she is uncertain whether or not the person seeking the accommodation has a disability or a disability- related need for an assistance animal. Housing providers may ask individuals who have disabilities that are not readily apparent or known to the provider to submit reliable documentation of a disability and their disability-related need for an assistance animal. If the disability is readily apparent or known but the disability-related need for the assistance animal is not, the housing provider may ask the individual to provide documentation of the disability- related need for an assistance animal.  

However, a housing provider may not ask a tenant or applicant to provide documentation showing the disability or disability-related need for an assistance animal if the disability or disability-related need is readily apparent or already known to the provider. 

Who do these laws apply to?

Depending on your situation, you may fall under one, both or neither of these laws.  Your local jurisdiction may have more rules to further complicate the matter.  Either way, as landlords, we need to know the rules and make sure we are in compliance.

I wrote a Landlord's Guide to Dealing with Pets that covers this issue and many more regarding pets.  Sign up for my free newsletter and I'll send the ebook! 

__________________
Domenick | AccidentalRental - A profitable resource for new landlords

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