Franklin landlords are undoubtedly responsible for providing reasonable accommodation for tenants with disabilities. This includes allowing emotional support animals in rental properties. Sadly though, plenty of landlords are unaware of their legal obligations or try to hunt for methods to avoid them. This blog post will bestow plenty of beneficial guidelines for rental property owners concerning emotional support animals. We will, on top of everything else, discuss the serious consequences of not following the law.
Defining Emotional Support Animals
The first thing to grasp well is that emotional support animals are not the same as service animals. Service animals are chiefly trained to perform tasks for people with disabilities, like guiding them around obstacles or helping them with daily tasks. On the other hand, emotional support animals grant companionship and emotional comfort. They surely do not need to have any special training. They are not considered pets, so breed and size restrictions do not apply.
Emotional Support Animals and the Law
Under the Fair Housing Act (FHA), landlords must render reasonable accommodation for tenants with disabilities. This encompasses allowing emotional support animals in rental properties, even if your property is best described as “pet-free.” Property owners are not allowed to charge additional pet deposits or higher rent if a tenant wants to keep an emotional support animal on the property.
There are just a few kinds of exceptions to this rule, particularly if the animal is a danger to other tenants or if it causes great damage to the property. Having said that, these exceptions are rare and should not be used as an excuse to reject a tenant’s request to have an emotional support animal.
Handling Tenant Requests for Emotional Support Animals
To qualify a tenant for an emotional support animal, you can urge your tenant to provide a letter from a health professional. This letter customarily states that the tenant has a mental or emotional disability, and the animal provides therapeutic benefits. As it is, however, it is illegal for a property owner to ask a tenant to provide specific details or even documentation of their disability.
Rather though, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) states that a property owner must determine whether to grant their tenant’s request for an emotional support animal solely on the recommendation of a health care professional.
Consequences for Not Following the Law
Supposing indeed a Franklin property manager turns down a tenant’s request for an emotional support animal or tries to charge them additional fees. As a consequence, the tenant can file a complaint with the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). HUD will investigate the complaint, and if they are aware that the property manager has violated the law, they can impose penalties. These can include civil fines, damages to the tenant, and even a court order demanding the property manager allows an emotional support animal on the property.
As you have seen, landlords need to understand their legal obligations regarding emotional support animals. Ignorance of the law is not an excuse and can lead you to receive penalties. If you have any questions concerning your pet policy, the Fair Housing Act, or emotional support animals, contact Real Property Management Greater Milwaukee. We can be of great help to you in navigating state and federal laws and keeping your rental property policies fully compliant with the law. Call us at 262-309-6961.
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.