Room rental and service animals

3 Replies

I rent rooms (2) in my house to college students. I have them sign a 1 year agreement. In that agreement it say no pets. Now 1 of the new guys is saying that he needs a support animal. But I don't want them in my house and he cannot take the animal to classes. Since this is a private home with only 1 address, do I have to allow this?

I am not sure if you can use the private house as a reason to deny him. But perhaps there is something else that you can use to deny him to avoid any sticky areas with the service dog? Perhaps there is a problem with his background check or a lack of sufficient income or rental history? Then quickly find another tenant to rent the room and let him know you rented the room already.

I agree with Amy Beth, I don't think you can deny them, but there may be another disqualifier in your criteria that you could use.

It sounds like the person is already a tenant and if that's the case, you can ask for credentialing, such as a Doctor’s note to validate and verify if it’s a legit medical need, if you cannot confirm the need then you can deny the accommodation.

In the future, I would put an animal responsibility addendum in your agreement, this way you can outline your rules and regulations, the upkeep and nuisance laws. Use a standardized form, that would apply to pets and ESAs this way you can ensure there is no discrimination for the animal being an ESA. Check with your attorney on what you can legally do to protect yourself.

I'm not a lawyer and do not know the laws in your particular area, so definitely do your own double checking.  But I am 99.99% sure that there is an exclusion in the rules about service animals, for this type of situation.  Basically, if you are the owner and live at the same property (with 4 or fewer units), you don't have to allow animals of any kind.  Service animals or not.