Must landlord allow tenant to have a service animal?


A landlord must allow a tenant to have a service or therapy animal.


Attorney Tom Olsen: When you're out there interviewing potential tenants if you have a vacancy and one of them comes to you, says, "Look, I've got a service dog." Can you deny that person to be a tenant of yours because they have a service dog?

Attorney Rob Solomon: No, you can't. There's a distinguishing between a service animal and a therapy animal. Neither are our pets in the eyes of the Fair Housing Act or the Americans with Disability Act, none of them are pets. Therefore they have to be permitted, and they can't be discouraged through pet fees because they're not pets to begin with. Therapy animals, which are extremely very common nowadays when somebody doesn't meet the requirements of having a service animal.

Even those have been dealt with by under the Fair Housing Act and been interpreted under regulations as being animals that people have to permit even if their original lease said they couldn't have a pet. If they can show that they have a justifiable need for a therapy animal or a service animal, you have to let them have it.