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Excuses!

companion animals by MJ (OR) on August 3, 2011 @12:59

                              
OK - signed a one year lease with solid applicant(s).
This is a 4 plex of one bedroom apartments.

No pets, no smoking policy on lease - background calls did not reveal one tenant has a 'companion animal'(dog). Lease has NO PETS clearly but from what I read the courts don't consider companion animals a 'pet'.

They move in and 15 days later drop the email on me - (paraphrased)
'oh by the way - 'Susie' had a traumatic experience and has a companion animal and we have a letter from a doctor stating she would benefit from a companion animal to help in dealing with this experience. We didn't want to tell you up front because of the fear of being judged or faced with denial'.

Well, now other tenants (good ones) want to add a dog.

From what I can tell the law is on the side of the companion animal and not the landlord.........no extra deposit can be collected, no extra rent.

Anyone else deal with this? It opens up the door to other tenants wanting to have a pet. And things were going so smoothly...........


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Re: companion animals by Eloise (AL) on August 3, 2011 @13:09 [ Reply ]
I'm sorry :(
Is a "companion animal" a pet or a "service dog"???
Maybe you can just tell the other tenants that you had to allow this animal because of the doctor's note {or law?} and you do not wish to have "pets" in the property ... or you can just ask for a hefty deposit with lots of guidelines {no more than x pounds, no puppies, leashed at all times etc} and ask for extra rent on top of that, will make it a bit harder for them to agree?
Re: companion animals by Bryan (Ia) on August 3, 2011 @13:55 [ Reply ]
There is some ambiguity, the DOJ has removed emotional support animals but HUD has not. ( http://www.hud.gov/offices/fheo/FINALRULE/Pet_Ownership_Final_Rule.pdf )

Interestingly, from what I've read, those animals are only protected in HUD financed housing. Further research would be required on this.

You can find an example letter that the Dr. should have followed here: http://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/documents/huddoc?id=DOC_7399.doc If the Doc didn't follow this format it does not make it invalid, but all the elements should still be there. ESPECIALLY the one that says he is certifying that the child meets the requirements of being disabled according to the ADA.

You are entitled to copy of that letter for your records.

Re: companion animals by Bunny *M*A*G*I*C* on August 3, 2011 @13:58 [ Reply ]
Playing Devil's Advocate here:
Susie signed the contract under false pretenses because she didn't disclose things.

The doctor's stating she would benefit from a companion animal is different from the doctor saying Susie MUST have one.

Yes, she may indeed benefit, but really, I'd benefit from being a pretty pretty princess and could probably get my doc (who has a good sense of humor) to write me a Rx that states I'd benefit from being a PPP.

Companion animals are NOT service animals. I believe companion animals are not protected by law, but service animals are.

If you do NOT want to open this can of worms, find a legal way to get OUT of this lease before 1) your other tenants get a doctor to say they'd benefit/need a companion animal, or 2) Susie gets her pet certified as a service dog.

There have been numerous postings about service animals and companion animals. Just type the phrase into the Search box.
Re: companion animals by Jake on August 3, 2011 @16:34 [ Reply ]
I am so tired of people sneaking in pets as "service" animals that do not perform any type of service. Then there are the "companion" animals. Every dog or cat is a "companion" animal that the owners benefit from in some way. And, what about the letter from the doctor? Is it a friend or relative? Is there anybody who can not print one out and pass it off as authentic? What landlords need to start doing is to get a medical release to obtain information directly from the doctor. And, the the "companion" animal needs to fall in the scope of his practice or report him to whatever. The doctor can not be a chiropractor or a mail order psychologist. Tell the tenant the animal is not allowed until you have it verified.
Re: companion animals by Anonymous on August 3, 2011 @16:35 [ Reply ]
First of all they lied to you when they applied. Too many people now days want to use that excuse to have pets in a no pets allowed property and too many doctors write out those letters.
Re: companion animals by MrDan (Georgia) on August 3, 2011 @16:43 [ Reply ]
HUD'S Latest letter on 'Service and Companion Animals' http://www.bazelon.org/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=lhyaA_hRAoE%3d&tabid=268
Re: companion animals by Anon (Ohio) on August 3, 2011 @18:03 [ Reply ]
Are you in a landlord friendly or tenant friendly state? According to my lawyer, I can give someone a 30 day notice to leave the premises, and I don't have to even give them a reason why I need the rental back. I think you need to let the other tenants know a note from the doctor makes this a special case. State law is state law, but I would not like renting to someone who is dishonest about something as important as pet policy.
Re: companion animals by xxx on August 5, 2011 @12:12 [ Reply ]
you're pretty much screwed, but she needs to provide you with evidence of her DISABILITY (a letter from the doctor with the magic words "He/She meets the definition of disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Fair Housing Act, and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.")

so NOT "she would benefit from" but "she is DISABLED as defined in the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Fair Housing Act, and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973"

here is a good summary:

http://bazelon.org/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=mHq8GV0FI4c%3d&tabid=245

"The Fair Housing Amendments Act of 1988, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act protect the right of people with disabilities to keep emotional support animals, even when a landlord's policy explicitly prohibits pets. Because emotional support and service animals are not "pets," but rather are considered to be more like assistive aids such as wheelchairs, the law will generally require the landlord to make an exception to its "no pet" policy so that a tenant with a disability can fully use and enjoy his or her dwelling. In most housing complexes, so long as the tenant has a letter or prescription from an appropriate professional, such as a therapist or physician, and meets the definition of a person with a disability, he or she is entitled to a reasonable accommodation that would allow an emotional support animal in the apartment."

that said, they knew in advance they were going to spring this on you, and waited until the lease was signed so you could not refuse them

they go on the bad list for that, and have to go at the first opportunity
Re: companion animals by xxx on August 5, 2011 @12:14 [ Reply ]
If you still have fair housing questions, contact the Fair Housing Hotline at 503/223-8197 Ext. 2 (Portland metro area) or 800/424-3247 Ext. 2 or at information@FHCO.org.

Re: companion animals by Anonymous on December 15, 2012 @18:39 [ Reply ]
I get at least 5 phone calls a week with people with a doctors note. I guess there is no such thing as no pets anymore. It seems everyone gets a doctors note.

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