companion dogs (service animal, pet policy, medical condition)

This is a discussion on companion dogs (service animal, pet policy, medical condition) within the Landlord vs Tenant Issues forum, part of the REAL ESTATE & PROPERTY LAW category; I rent in a complex where theres a no pet policy but my doctor wrote my landlord a letter stating ...

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Old Aug 16th, 2010, 10:55 PM   #1
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Lightbulb companion dogs (service animal, pet policy, medical condition)

I rent in a complex where theres a no pet policy but my doctor wrote my landlord a letter stating that I needed to have a companion dog, I don't live in federal housing or get asistance so can they legally charge me a pet deposit and also evict me if the dog becomes a burden or am I protected under the FHA, HUD and the ADA law, also is it legal for them to charge me a pet deposit or not? because I thought since my doctor wrote me a note addressed to my landlord saying it was for my medical condition to have it, isn't it considered a service animal?
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Old Aug 16th, 2010, 11:00 PM   #2
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Default re: companion dogs (service animal, pet policy, medical condition)

See the other posts in this forum on that issue.

If the doctor orders it and requires it, you can have the pet. A deposit can still be required in many cases but check with your state dept of housing too on that point.
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Old Aug 16th, 2010, 11:04 PM   #3
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Lightbulb re: companion dogs (service animal, pet policy, medical condition)

but would you consider it a pet or service dog if its used for my disability and mental health and he orders it?
thanks
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Old Aug 16th, 2010, 11:30 PM   #4
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Default Re: companion dogs (service animal, pet policy, medical condition)

It will be a service animal.

You can fight any deposit but the law does vary on that point.
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Old Aug 17th, 2010, 09:26 AM   #5
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Default Re: companion dogs (service animal, pet policy, medical condition)

Regardless of whether an animal is a service animal or not, landlords still reserve the right to charge a pet deposit. This is because animals are animals and nothing can change that.

Yes, you can be evicted for that or any other reason.

You are not protected under any governmental laws.
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Old Aug 17th, 2010, 04:14 PM   #6
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Default companion dogs or service animal

Hi Dino..

Well 1st there is a differece between a companion dog or a service dog.. under federal laws..service dog is covered.. with certain criteria...

A service animal is not a pet.. and thus not subject to depoist, however you are responsable for damages.. they just cannot charge more.. for a s/a

2nd.. check your state laws.. they will differ between states..
your LL may be able to charge a pet deposit,, but for a service dog, no..
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Old Aug 17th, 2010, 11:16 PM   #7
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Default Re: companion dogs (service animal, pet policy, medical condition)

There is a huge difference between a service animal and a companion animal. A service animal is specially trained to assist with some disability. They will have papers to prove their status as a service animal. This type of animal is covered under the ADA. No deposit should be requested for any service animal. A LL may not deny a service animal, even if they have a strict no pets policy.

A companion animal, although requested by a doctor, is not the same. A companion animal has no special training to assist with a disability. While it may help you to have this animal, it does not assist with your disability. It is a pet and is not covered under the ADA. A deposit may be requested for this animal, or it may be denied altogether.

You would be responsible for any damages from any animal, just as you would be for any damages resulting from any guest or invitee on your rented property.
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Old Aug 22nd, 2010, 12:14 AM   #8
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Default Re: companion dogs (service animal, pet policy, medical condition)

I talked to the attorney generals office of consumer protection and they said no because their not pets under FHA, HUD and ADA law

Occupancy Requirements of Subsidized Multifamily Housing Programs, HUD, No. 4350.3, 4-13(b) (1998).
Few courts have addressed the imposition of pet deposits on the vast majority of tenants who are not protected by the Housing and Urban-Rural Recovery Act. The only case to specifically consider the legality of charging a pet deposit for an assistive animal involved a service dog belonging to a tenant with a physical disability. See HUD v. Purkett, FH-FL 19,372 (HUDALJ July 31, 1990), in which a HUD administrative law judge issued an injunction barring the owner and manager of an apartment complex from charging a tenant a deposit for her service dog. It could be argued that a landlord would be likewise prohibited from imposing such a deposit for an emotional support animal. Generally, under the FHA, ADA, and 504, landlords are required to incur some expenses in making reasonable accommodations, so long as those costs are not an undue financial burden. See United States v. California Mobile Home Park Management Co., 29 F.3d 1413, 1416 (9th Cir. 1994), in which the Court of Appeals of the Ninth Circuit held that, "the history of the FHAA clearly establishes that Congress anticipated that landlords would have to shoulder certain costs involved [in making reasonable accommodations], so long as they are not unduly burdensome."
When a tenant requests an emotional support or other assistive animal, the landlord should not assume, without justification, that the animal will cause excessive, financially burdensome damage. In the event that a tenant's assistive animal does cause significant damage, that tenant should certainly be held financially liable. However, it would contravene the purpose of the statutory protections afforded people with disabilities to allow a landlord to charge a deposit at the outset, in the absence of any significant damage. Just as it would be inappropriate to charge a tenant who uses a wheelchair a deposit for potential damage to carpeting, it would be similarly imprudent to demand a deposit from a tenant who uses an assistive animal.
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Old Aug 22nd, 2010, 12:14 AM   #9
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Default Re: companion dogs (service animal, pet policy, medical condition)

and its the AG'S office of North Carolina
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Old Aug 23rd, 2010, 12:30 PM   #10
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Default Re: companion dogs (service animal, pet policy, medical condition)

Well there you go. You got your answer, and it's unclear why you came here for answers when all you had to do was check with your AG.
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