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Your Rights as a Renter with a Service Animal

Disabled Flushing Renter in Wheelchair with Service DogIf you are a Flushing renter and own a service or emotional support animal, it is vital to determine your rights. Numerous renters are uninformed that they can keep a service or emotional support animal in their rental homes, irrespective of the property owner’s rules. This blog post will examine 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 activities can include but are not limited to guiding people who are blind, informing people who are deaf, pulling a wheelchair, alerting and safeguarding a person who is having a seizure, or relaxing a person with post-traumatic stress disorder.

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

Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), service animals are permitted 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 have a service or emotional support animal, you are not obliged to pay any pet fees or deposits. On the other hand, you may be accountable for damages caused by your animal. For instance, if your animal chews on furniture or urinates on the flooring, or if you forgot to clean up the animal’s waste, you will probably be charged for those repairs. It is crucial to have a conversation with your property owner about your service or emotional support animal before signing a lease. This can help minimize misunderstandings about your rights and responsibilities as a renter.

Other landlords may request 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 Flushing property manager.

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

Imagine your landlord wants to evict you (or refuses to rent to you) for having a service or emotional support animal. In such a 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 forbids 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 examine your complaint and take legal action against your landlord if they discover that you’re being discriminated against.

If you are experiencing eviction because of your service or emotional support animal, it is crucial to seek legal help as early as possible. An experienced attorney can help you know 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 call 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 may also discover more information on service and emotional support animals at the ADA National Network website. The ADA National Network is a way to get information and technical emotional support on the Americans with Disabilities Act.

 

You and your service or emotional support animal can live a happy life in your rental home by understanding your privileges. 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 know 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.