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Service dog laws - Landlord Forum thread 333188

Service dog laws by allyson on April 4, 2015 @14:24

Prospective tenant came as a walk in to view our empty 2 bedrooms. We have no pet policy in our rentals so when asked about pets he replied he has a service dog with the papers to prove the need. He has epilepsy but I also saw him drive his vehicle and as a past nurse practitioner I know you have to be seizure free for many years before you can drive so I wonder if he really still needs the dog. Obviously I showed him units because I know I cannot discriminate but I really do not want a dog in our unit. My questions are:
1. Do I legally have to take the dog?
2. If I do can I charge a security deposit in addition to the normal security deposit to cover any possible damages. 3. Am I able to charge a monthly pet fee ( I assume no since it is not a "pet") - we do have some tenants with pets that were grandfathered in prior to us becoming no pets allowed years ago. With these tenants there is a monthly fee along with a pet security deposit.

Our units are in pittsburgh PA.
Any input would be helpful.
Thank you
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Re: Service dog laws by catheirne (il) on April 4, 2015 @14:43 [ Reply ]
I've had many people claim they need a 'therapy dog'
when they present their 'papers' - after my investigation, which proves the papers fraudulent and the 'doctor' listed on the papers a friend or relative - I send a declined due to providing fraudulent information

and yes, you can charge a pet deposit - therapy animals are considered pets

check your state laws, because in IL I can dismiss anyones application for any reason as long as I own less than four rental units.
Re: Service dog laws by Anonymous on April 4, 2015 @15:49 [ Reply ]
If this is, in fact, a service dog, you must accept the dog with the tenants, you cannot charge a pet deposit, and you cannot charge pet rent. You're supposed to act like the dog isn't there, it's just an extension of the disabled person.

Laws vary regarding therapy dogs, but you have specifically said this is a service dog. Do a google search for "service dogs and rentals" or "service dogs HUD" and see what the actual requirements are.
Re: Service dog laws by MrDan (Georgia) on April 4, 2015 @17:48 [ Reply ]
Service animals are defined as dogs that are individually trained to do work or perform tasks for people with disabilities. The law that allows a trained service dog to accompany a person with a disability is the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

The following website will guide you in both the landlords and tenants rights to have assistance animals.

This March is the 25th Anniversary of the ADA. Both HUD and the DOJ has proclaimed that step up efforts to combat housing discrimination will be initiated.
Re: Service dog laws--change ADA vs HUD by anon on April 4, 2015 @18:31 [ Reply ]
The Americans with Disabilities Act requires equal access for people with disabilities using trained service dogs in public accommodations and government facilities. Under the Fair Housing Act, housing providers have a further obligation to accommodate people with disabilities who, because of their disability, require trained service dogs "or other types of assistance animals" to perform tasks, provide emotional support, or alleviate the effects of their disabilities.

This was news to me about the HUD assistance animals. HUD is giving a wider scope to the tenant with an animal now. ADA limits it to dogs only/trained service dogs only. HUD opens it up to other animals and is not requiring the animal to be a "trained service animal." Bad news for owners.
Re: Service dog laws by Garry (Iowa) on April 4, 2015 @19:04 [ Reply ]
I hope you were a better nurse practitioner than you are a landlord. You may know about epilepsy, but you ( and Catherine below you) certainly don't know the Federal laws regarding service animals. I agree with Mr.Dan , and the other anon about this. Both of you need to read up on the laws regarding service animals, before you get in big trouble by denying some one a place to live, over what may or may not be a service animal. It is by far, cheaper to allow a service or companion animal in your units, than to have a civil rights complaint filed against you. By the way, did you also know that the owners of those service animals can also be evicted if their animals cause damages to your unit, or become a nuisance to the neighborhood ? They cannot constantly bark outside or be aggressive to anyone. And they cannot "go" on your carpets and cause damage to your place. In fact, those people that have service animals, tend to stay a lot longer in a unit than other people. So if they check out well in all other aspects on their app, you could be renting to a long-term tenant.
Re: Service dog laws by Anonymous on April 5, 2015 @19:49 [ Reply ]
I just got an email from someone claiming 2 service dogs ...they also said they were living in a motel and had no rental history, so they did not meet my basic criteria. That was the end of that.

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