If you are a Twin Falls renter and own a service or emotional support animal, it is essential to know your rights. Numerous renters are ignorant that they can keep a service or emotional support animal in their rental homes, notwithstanding the property owner’s rules. This blog post will mention 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, notifying people who are deaf, pulling a wheelchair, informing and safeguarding a person who is having a seizure, or comforting 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. Several companion animals can qualify as emotional support animals as long as you provide a letter from your medical provider or therapist confirming that you need the animal.
Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), service animals are legal 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 deemed 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 have a service or emotional support animal, you are not supposed 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 refuse to remove the animal’s waste, you will surely be charged for those repairs. It will help if you have a conversation with your property owner about your service or emotional support animal before signing a lease. This can help decrease misunderstandings about your rights and responsibilities as a renter.
Other landlords may wish 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 consult with your Twin Falls property manager.
What to do if your landlord tries to evict you for having a service or emotional support animal.
Imagine your landlord is attempting to evict you (or refuses to rent to you) for having a service or emotional support animal. Consequently, 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 prevents 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 discover you’re being discriminated against.
If you experience eviction because of your service or emotional support animal, it is imperative to seek legal help as early as possible. An experienced attorney can help you discover 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 ask 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 obtain additional information on service and emotional support animals at the ADA National Network website. The ADA National Network is a place to acquire information and technical emotional support on the Americans with Disabilities Act.
You and your service or emotional support animal may have a good life in your rental home by knowing your privileges. But if your landlord is standing in the way of you exercising your rights, it might be time to move to a place managed by professionals who respect 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.