What information can landlords require when asked to waive pet policies or fees?

When tenants want their landlord to waive a prohibition on pets or pet-related fees for their assistance or emotional support animal, can the landlord request a doctor’s note supporting the tenants’ request?

The Fair Housing Act requires landlords to evaluate a tenant’s accommodation request to possess an assistance or emotional support animal on the property. If a tenant’s disability is not readily apparent, a landlord may ask the tenant to submit reliable documentation of the disability and the disability-related need for an assistance or emotional support animal.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has found that documentation from a physician, psychiatrist, social worker, or other mental health professional is sufficient if it establishes that an individual has a disability and that the animal will provide disability-related assistance or emotional support. However, a landlord may not request information concerning the severity of the disability or require the tenant to provide access to medical records.

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4 Responses to What information can landlords require when asked to waive pet policies or fees?

  1. Dyana Babik says:

    The question was never answered, The landlord cannot charge for a pet deposit for his animal because it is not a pet, but rather a service/companion animal required for disability.

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  2. Kathy Kipp says:

    I’m concerned about this response as well. The ADA laws also come into play here. In my opinion, this is the next hot bed of litigation. In the classes that I’ve taken on this subject, there is no set animal that is considered a Service Animal or Emotional Support Animal. Someone can have a kangaroo, miniature horse, etc. I met someone recently who registered her kangaroo as a service animal.

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  3. Emotional support animals are not covered by ADA. The landlord may not ask any medical questions. According to HIPPA you never have to disclose any medical condition to anyone by federal law. There is no registration board nor any specific training required for a dog to be called a service dog other than an individual making that claim. Individuals are allowed to train their own dog, and the dog must do three things specific to helping an actual medical condition. The landlord may ask what three things do you specific animal does to ameliorate the condition. But the main thing is the animal must not cause any disturbances, if it does landlords do not have to allow the animal on The premises.each state however is in charge of adopting it’s on specific laws such as in the state of Texas where we have TX HB “Bootz Law”relating to rights and responsibility of persons with disabilities

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  4. Kat Minns says:

    This article is excellent and spot on. Key word throughout this article is that the applicant/tenant must be disabled.

    If a tenant’s disability is not readily apparent:
    1) a landlord may ask the tenant to submit reliable documentation of the disability and
    2) the disability-related need for an assistance or emotional support animal.

    A Service Animal and an Emotional Support Animal (ESA) are two very different animals. Quoting https://www.ada.gov/service_animals_2010.htm, “Beginning on March 15, 2011, only dogs are recognized as service animals under titles II and III of the ADA.” and “Dogs whose sole function is to provide comfort or emotional support do not qualify as service animals under the ADA.”

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