Can you charge pet rent if the tenant has ESA in WA state

45 Replies

My new tenant has a dog and they have an ESA certificate from doctor. Can I legally charge them pet rent? its a big brown lab. In my understanding I thought you can't deny someone with a ESA but you should still be able to charge animal related rent and fees.

Im located in Vancouver WA if that makes any difference
 

that's a majority of my applicants, seems like all the millennials are getting ESA certificates to escape paying pet rent. what would you do in this case? I told them I charge pet rent and they're fine paying it regardless but I don't want to get in trouble later on if something was to go wrong

@Elliot Terekhin , unless your state has some kind of program to issue "certificates", they are just fake nonsense they got off of the internet.

What they need is a prescription from a healthcare provider. They are prescribed an ESA for a mental/psychological disability.

So, I would ask to see their prescription. 

Cannot charge any pet rent, pet fee, pet deposits.  An ESA is not a pet.

Sadly, many ESAs are indeed pets in disguise, totally unfair to people with real mental conditions.

Verifying some who claims to have an ESA is a challenge we all face from time to time and we are handcuffed by the law with so many loop holes.

No deposit. No rent. No screening fee for the animal. You can't charge anything, anywhere in the United States.

You have to treat it like a wheelchair. You know, a wheelchair that barks, digs up the lawn, poops and pees everywhere, and occasionally bites the neighbor. That kind of wheelchair.

The "good" news is that the animal still has to be under control and behave. I have an "animal" addendum that outlines the rules for pets and service animals regarding being under control, not disturbing the neighbors, cleaning up after it immediately, etc. If the animal violates the rules, it can still be removed from the property.

Originally posted by @Joe Martella :

@Nathan G. Don’t these ESAs have to be specially trained or certified in any way? Can you ask for that in addition to the medical note?

No, an ESA does not require any training or certification. They can be prescribed by a doctor, counselor or even your church pastor. The fraud is so rampant because requirements are so minimal.

 

@Nathan G.

Wasn’t aware of that. Didn’t realize how loose the requirements were. Hoping that you exaggerated about the pastor granting it. Are there certifications that you can challenge?

I know I’m new to this and I might be speaking out of turn but it’s weird that landlords see it as a right that they have to charge people for pets. I see it as all pets as emotional support animals.

all animals are service animals why else would people have them

I understand that people with psychological problems have a special carveout, but be real, you should be building your apartments to withstand the fact that humans have pets.

You can also always charge a non refundable move-in fee / move out fee upfront for all of your tenants and if a dog / child / drunk uncle tears up the apartment use that to brace against the cost.

Full disclosure I have five dogs that I found in the streets. I’m a sucker!

Just a note that if the dog is a “dangerous breed”, you should check w your insurer. Labs are obviously not but some tenants like to get bulls and rots. The way I read the law for my state is that landlords are only required to make reasonable accommodations. If it’s an animal that is not covered under your insurance, you could deny it. I agree w the other poster, if this is common for millennial renters to do, charge a move in/out fee

Straight off the federal government website:

https://www.ada.gov/regs2010/service_animal_qa.html

Q3. Are emotional support, therapy, comfort, or companion animals considered service animals under the ADA?

A. No. These terms are used to describe animals that provide comfort just by being with a person. Because they have not been trained to perform a specific job or task, they do not qualify as service animals under the ADA. However, some State or local governments have laws that allow people to take emotional support animals into public places. You may check with your State and local government agencies to find out about these laws.

State and local laws seems the issue to me. No legal advice given.

Originally posted by @Jermaine Chad Ingram :

I know I’m new to this and I might be speaking out of turn but it’s weird that landlords see it as a right that they have to charge people for pets. I see it as all pets as emotional support animals.

all animals are service animals why else would people have them

I understand that people with psychological problems have a special carveout, but be real, you should be building your apartments to withstand the fact that humans have pets.

You can also always charge a non refundable move-in fee / move out fee upfront for all of your tenants and if a dog / child / drunk uncle tears up the apartment use that to brace against the cost.

Full disclosure I have five dogs that I found in the streets. I’m a sucker!

 Im not the one to say that animals aren't emotional support to people. all im trying to say is that no matter what you wanna call your dog it still puts wear and tear on the place no matter which way you look at it, and that is something I think people should be able to charge for

Originally posted by @Tony Gunter :

Straight off the federal government website:

https://www.ada.gov/regs2010/service_animal_qa.html

Q3. Are emotional support, therapy, comfort, or companion animals considered service animals under the ADA?

A. No. These terms are used to describe animals that provide comfort just by being with a person. Because they have not been trained to perform a specific job or task, they do not qualify as service animals under the ADA. However, some State or local governments have laws that allow people to take emotional support animals into public places. You may check with your State and local government agencies to find out about these laws.

State and local laws seems the issue to me. No legal advice given.

hmm wow that's very interesting. I called around with local apartments managers and they say that ESA basically waives all the fees related to the dog. maybe I need to talk to a local attorney knowledgeable in this area of law

 

It seems that the law protects both human children and people‘s emotional support animals in the same way, but you never hear on this forum people seeking to circumvent charging people more for children. but you openly hear landlords trying to circumvent the rules about charging people more for animals. Circumventing the law is probably not something any of us should be seeking guidance on how to do. 


Do you return the “deposit” if the pet doesn’t cause any damage? If not then it’s just a money grab. You might want to spread your repair cost over all your clients. 

@Elliot Terekhin

For Georgia I found the following:

Under the ADA and Georgia law, owners of public accommodations are not required to allow emotional support animals, only service animals. https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/georgia-laws-on-service-dogs-and-emotional-support-animals.html

I’ve not been tested in court, but I’m thinking something along the lines of “give me a letter on a state agency letterhead stating YOUR animal is covered and identifiable as the same”... Something similar anyway. I really feel that here in Georgia anyway I can tell them to go blow smoke.

I found this comment regarding Washington state:

Emotional support animals, comfort animals, and therapy dogs are not service animals under Washington State Law. Other species of animals, whether wild or domestic, trained or untrained, are not considered service animals either. The work or tasks performed by a service animal must be directly related to the individual’s disability. It does not matter if a person has a note from a doctor that states that the person has a disability and needs to have the animal for emotional support. A doctor’s letter does not turn an animal into a service animal. https://waservicedog.org/wa-state-laws/

Again, no legal advice blah, blah, blah.

@Tony Gunter currently federal and state governments qualify depression as a disability you can collect government benefits because of depression

what does a dog get trained to do for a person who uses it to help to alleviate their depression

remember emotional and psychological illnesses are on equal par with physical disabilities

you guys are going to get challenged legally, really hard in court with this trying to get around the law

@Jermaine Chad Ingram

Sorry, I disagree with you, at least I the state of Georgia. However, I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it. I’m not going to run scared. I never let the tenants call the shots, never. That is what this is really about anyway.

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