If you are a Mobile renter and have a service or emotional support animal, it is essential to study your rights. Several renters are uninformed that they can keep a service or emotional support animal in their rental homes, despite the property owner’s rules. This blog post will go into the laws that protect renters who have service or emotional support animals. We will also offer 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 activities can include but are not limited to guiding people who are blind, informing people who are deaf, pulling a wheelchair, alerting and protecting a person who is having a seizure, or calming 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. Various companion animals can qualify as emotional support animals if you get a letter from your medical provider or therapist that certifies you need the animal.
Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), service animals are permissible 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 considered 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 forced to pay any pet fees or deposits. On the flip side, you may be responsible for damages caused by your animal. As an illustration, if your animal chews on furniture or urinates on the flooring, or if you neglect to get rid of the animal’s waste, you will probably be charged for those repairs. It is recommended to have a conversation with your property owner about your service or emotional support animal before signing a lease. This will help minimize misunderstandings about your rights and responsibilities as a renter.
Several landlords may insist that you show proof of insurance for your service or emotional support animal. This is not mandated by law, but it is something you should be prepared to address with your Mobile property manager.
What to do if your landlord tries to evict you for having a service or emotional support animal.
Suppose your landlord wants to evict you (or refuses to rent to you) for having a service or emotional support animal. In that case, 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 precludes 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 can review your complaint and take legal action against your landlord if they determine that you have been discriminated against.
If you confront eviction due to your service or emotional support animal, it is critical to seek legal help without further ado. 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 visit 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 obtain more information on service and emotional support animals at the ADA National Network website. The ADA National Network is a platform to get information and technical emotional support on the Americans with Disabilities Act.
You and your service or emotional support animal may experience happiness in your rental home by understanding your legal protection. But if your landlord is standing in the way of your rights, it might be time to move to a place managed by professionals who understand 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.