When Are Animals Allowed in No Pet Residences?

As a landlord you have the right to prohibit your tenants from having pets in the property by implementing a no pet policy. Landlords do not however, have the right to prohibit tenants from having properly registered animals in the property thanks to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). There are three groups of animals protected by law the ADA for accommodations: service animals, emotional support animals, and therapy animals.

Service Animals –

Service animals are specifically dogs (and some miniature horses) that are trained to perform tasks for people with disabilities. These animals receive special training in order to assist individuals. By law, a landlord cannot deny an individual from having a service animal that is properly registered. A simple note from a doctor will not turn an animal into a service animal. While a doctor’s note may explain the reason for the animal, without the proper training the animal is not official.

Emotional Support Animals –

Emotional Support Animals can relieve loneliness, provide companionship, and work to aide with depression and anxiety. An emotional support animal (ESA) does not perform tasks for individuals. Unlike service animals, ESAs are not restricted to only dogs and some miniature horses. Common ESA animals include dogs, cats, ferrets, and even birds. Also unlike a service animal, for an ESA to be allowed in a “no pet” residence, the individual need only provide documentation from a doctor in support.

Therapy Animals –

Therapy Animals work to provide a therapeutic relief to multiple individuals rather than one specific person. These animals are typically used in clinical settings to assist in improving physical, social, emotional, and/or cognitive functioning. Unlike service animals and ESAs, therapy animals are not covered under the ADA to live in a “no pet” residence.

As a landlord you should familiarize yourself with the laws governing these animals. Being familiar with the laws and the specific protected animals could keep you from legal trouble. Being informed of these animals will allow you to properly determine which animals are allowed in your no pet residence. As a tenant you have the right to have a service animal or emotional support animal in your no pet residence. The important thing for a tenant to do with regards to these animals is to ensure that they are properly registered. An animal that is not properly registered or does not have the proper documentation can be denied by your landlord.

To speak with an experienced attorney about any issues you are having with regards to service animals or emotional support animals contact our offices at (330) 673-3444.