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Should You Allow Renters To Keep Support Pets on Your Property?

Home River Group - Spokane - Thursday, December 8, 2022
Property Management Blog

Pets. They can make the lives of those that own them better and they can serve the specific needs of a specific part of the population. 

About 80 million households in the United States either have a dog or a cat. 

Some of these households need these pets as support pets. These can serve the role of either an emotional support animal or an assistant pet. 

If you are a landlord, you might have a tenant that wants to bring a therapy pet with them. What do you do in this situation? 

This is your guide. 

Fair Housing Act 

The Fair Housing Act (FHA) has specific notes about whether a landlord is legally allowed to deny someone the right to their support pet in their building. There are certain things that the landlord has to show if they are going to deny this right to someone. 

The first two things have to do with the safety and environment of the living area. A landlord would have to prove that the animal is a direct threat to other people living in the building. The other thing they would try to have to prove is that the pet would cause physical damage to the building. 

If you cannot prove either of those things, then you would have to prove one of these two other things. Either you have to prove that making alterations for this pet would cause financial hardship for you or you would have to prove that it would change the environment of the building significantly. 

Essentially, a landlord legally has to accommodate a support pet if it causes little or no change to the current living environment. 

Pros and Cons 

Besides the legal issues that come with the support of pets, a landlord has to think about the pros and cons of allowing these pets for the entire building. 

The biggest pro is that your building would be seen as a more inclusive environment. You would not only be willing to accommodate mental disabilities but you would also be creating a friendly environment for pet owners. 

While this is all well and good, not everybody loves the idea of pets in their building. With that in mind, it may bother other tenants that do not have pets and already currently live in the building. If enough current tenants feel this way, you could risk losing their business if they choose to go elsewhere. 

Consider Your Options for Support Pets 

These are the biggest things that you have to consider when it comes to allowing support pets in your apartments. The most important factor is the law that bans discrimination against those that legally qualify for this support pet. 

Once you determine the legality of the pet, you have to consider if other tenants in the building are going to feel one way or the other about pets. 

For this, you may need the help of a property manager. Do you want to know more? Message us today with your questions.