Emotional Support Animal / Service Animal

14 Replies

My tenant has a ESA, and may be changed later to service dog.  Dog is around 1 yr old or just under.

Do I need tenant to sign a lease addendum or something? so I can officially know about the dog, licenses, shots, etc.

Thanks.

I'd ask for vet documentation for proof pet has received all state required vaccines. This will get you the name on the dog on record designating that specific animal as their ESA.

Originally posted by @Jeff Bridges :

I'd ask for vet documentation for proof pet has received all state required vaccines. This will get you the name on the dog on record designating that specific animal as their ESA.

Good idea -- AND ask for additional rent/deposit, unless there is some legislation forbidding it for a properly registered service animal.

My humble opinion, all this "emotional support" stuff is simply BS so they can take their precious animals everywhere they go and not have pay extra. A mere "pet" must either stay home or charged extra for.

 Thus, an entire scam industry has arisen where, for a few bucks, you too can have your very own "emotional support peacock".

@Alvin Sylvain I agree the emotional support animals are B.S. but they are legal and we have to abide by the law.

If the animal is an ESA, you are allowed to ask if the person is disabled and what service the animal provides. That's about it. You can't charge extra pet rent or even a pet deposit because it's legally not considered a pet. In the eyes of the law, it's no different than a cane or a wheelchair.

Keep in mind, just because the ESA is not considered a pet doesn't mean it gets to run rampant, disturb the neighbors, crap all over the parking lot, or tear up the house. If the animal is a nuisance or causing damage, you can have it removed.

I was reading another landlord forum, and the issue with ESA/Service animals came up, and the deposit issue. What several of these landlords have now done is instead of having a pet deposit, which you cant do with service animals, is that they just incorporate it into the normal deposit. They do it across the board so all their units have to pay the higher deposit. They found they had to do that in order to protect their properties from animal damage.

Great feedback on all of this. Would you please be kind to share an emotional service animal addendum that you use @Nathan G. :) Thank you. I have ESA valid doctors letter proofing that, but need to send the addendum to sign now. Thank you!

Originally posted by @Ernest Ho :

My tenant has a ESA, and may be changed later to service dog.  Dog is around 1 yr old or just under.

Do I need tenant to sign a lease addendum or something? so I can officially know about the dog, licenses, shots, etc.

Thanks.

You might not actually have any issue. People can't just "change" an ESA into an Officially Registered Service Dog. There is a lot of training involved, it takes months (up to 2 years), and they usually like to start them off as puppies. And, it ain't cheap. A quick web search shows it can cost upwards of $25,000.

I'd say that if the flea-bag isn't a service dog now, it probably never will be. So just check your local and federal laws about how you handle ESA and don't worry about "service dogs." Ain't gonna happen.

@Alvin Sylvain in the eyes of the law and regarding housing, an ESA is treated just like a service animal. Whether it remains an ESA or not, the Landlord has to treat it like they would any service animal.

I am in the middle of purchasing my first rental property in Arkansas and was wondering if changing the wording of "pet addendum" to "animal addendum" would allow for the "animal deposit" and monthly "animal rent" to be collected?  

First let me say I am not an attorney, but my other business deals with medial transport so I have seen a lot of these issues...

In Oregon there are service dogs or not. Cannot be anything other than a dog and there is no designation for "emotional support" animal....that's called a pet. People try to say "Well it's technically a service dog, but..." Here's a link https://www.oregon.gov/ODA/shared/Documents/Publications/FoodSafety/ServiceAnimalsposter.pdf

The BS factor is off the charts with some clients...

Then it gets tricky because you are only allowed to ask certain questions as to whether the dog has been trained to perform a specific task etc. Oregon doesn't have a card or other easy way to check.

Laugh of the day...we had a client, who was a stripper, with a lizard she kept in her bra, until it escaped in our car. She wanted us to pull the car out of service until the "service" lizard could be located...I swear I am not making this up and have not been drinking...

Originally posted by @Adam Apalategui :

In Oregon there are service dogs or not. Cannot be anything other than a dog and there is no designation for "emotional support" animal....that's called a pet. People try to say "Well it's technically a service dog, but..." Here's a link https://www.oregon.gov/ODA/shared/Documents/Publications/FoodSafety/ServiceAnimalsposter.pdf

You're mixing things up and only looking on a local level. You've got ADA, FHA, and the Oregon Department of Agriculture issues.

Service animals can be dogs or miniature horses. That is per the ADA. They can go practically anywhere.

Emotional Support Animals can be any type of animal - dog, cat, horse, peacock, komodo dragon... When it comes to housing, the FHA rules apply in addition to those of your state/city. FHA rules require that a landlord allow an ESA if it is a reasonable accommodation. This reasonable accommodation requirement is very easy to meet. The flyer you linked is about food safety rules by the Department of Agriculture and states they only allow true service animals in food establishments. Try using that to deny an ESA in your housing and you're going to be very sorry.

Originally posted by @Ernest Ho :

My tenant has a ESA, and may be changed later to service dog.  Dog is around 1 yr old or just under.

Do I need tenant to sign a lease addendum or something? so I can officially know about the dog, licenses, shots, etc.

Thanks.

Remember a lot of ESA's are fake and you can verify them by confirming the person who signed them is licensed in your state. You can not call the specialist or doctor directly but their board information or business info will be registered with the state. I don't know how to post documents to my profile yet or if that's a thing but 


I just made a 4 page ASR package based off of another site. I'm happy to send it to anyone who wants it. The first page is the tenant's official request for accommodations. The second page is a page for the doctor or professional stating what the tenant is requesting and giving them a little info as to why we the landlord are asking for it. the 3rd page is the ASR with simple yes-no questions. the 4th page is the approval or denial with what information was considered as well as contact information if you want to allow the 2nd review if a larger company. 

 Also, keep in mind if it causes an undue burden on you or is too costly you can deny them. for example, if your insurance company says that dog breed is on the ban list then you need to find out how much it will cost to insure them. if the rates go up because of the dog then you can deny them based on the undue burden. 

Heres a link that helped me write the form.

https://www.rentecdirect.com/blog/service-animals/

@Todd Groom .  I am in the process of accepting a 2 month lease month to month for a retired service member and wanted to just document his service animal as being on the property.  Is it possible that you could send me what you had created?  It would really help me out as I don't want to make this complicated. I just didn't know where to put the service dog on the lease.  I am using a standard state of Texas lease, which points to an addendum for pets.