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Your Rights as a Renter with a Service Animal

Disabled San Antonio Renter in Wheelchair with Service DogIf you are a San Antonio renter and have a service or emotional support animal, it is beneficial to learn your rights. Several renters are unfamiliar with the fact that they can keep a service or emotional support animal in their rental homes, setting aside the property owner’s rules. This blog post will explore the laws that protect renters who have service or emotional support animals. We will also give tips on communicating with your property owner if there is an issue with keeping your service or emotional support animal in your home.

What is a service or emotional support animal, and what rights do you have under the law?

Service animals are defined as animals trained to perform tasks for individuals with disabilities. These actions can include but are not limited to guiding people who are blind, informing people who are deaf, pulling a wheelchair, informing and defending a person who is having a seizure, or soothing a person with post-traumatic stress disorder.

An emotional support animal does not have to be trained to perform a specific service to provide benefits to its owners. Multiple companion animals can qualify as emotional support animals if you provide a letter from your medical provider or therapist certifying that you need the animal.

Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), service animals are acceptable in public places, including rental homes. Emotional support animals are not protected under the ADA but are allowed in rental homes, even if a landlord has a “no pet” policy. Service and emotional support animals are not classified as pets under the law, and therefore, property owners cannot charge pet fees or deposits for them.

How to handle deposits, fees, and other costs associated with having a service or emotional support animal.

If you own a service or emotional support animal, you are not bound to pay any pet fees or deposits. But, you may be in charge of damages caused by your animal. As an illustration, if your animal chews on furniture or urinates on the flooring, or if you refuse to pick up the animal’s waste, you will probably be charged for those repairs. It is a good idea to have a conversation with your property owner about your service or emotional support animal before signing a lease. This can help eliminate misunderstandings about your rights and responsibilities as a renter.

Several landlords may expect that you show proof of insurance for your service or emotional support animal. This is not enforced by law, but it is something you should be prepared to tackle with your San Antonio property manager.

What to do if your landlord tries to evict you for having a service or emotional support animal.

Suppose your landlord intends to evict you (or refuses to rent to you) for having a service or emotional support animal. In that situation, you may have grounds to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The department’s Civil Rights Division enforces the Fair Housing Act, which bans discrimination in housing based on disability.

You can also file a complaint with your state’s attorney general’s office or the human rights commission. These agencies may evaluate your complaint and take legal action against your landlord if they believe you have been discriminated against.

If you face eviction owing to your service or emotional support animal, it is critical to seek legal help as early as possible. An experienced attorney can help you learn your rights and options under the law.

Resources for further information on renters’ rights and service or emotional support animals.

For more information on your rights as a renter, you can consult the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). HUD enforces the Fair Housing Act and can investigate complaints of discrimination in housing.

You can also find additional information on service and emotional support animals at the ADA National Network website. The ADA National Network is a resource for information and technical emotional support on the Americans with Disabilities Act.

 

You and your service or emotional security animal may live happily in your rental home by learning your legal protection. But if your landlord is standing in the way of your freedom, it might be time to move to a property managed by professionals who comprehend and follow the law. Browse our listings for service animal-friendly rental homes in your area.

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.

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