I have a tenant whose therapist is recommending she buy a therapy dog to help her and that even though our lease agreement says no pets, that laws protect her right to have a therapy per. Does anyone have experience with this? Seems like a Pandora’s box to tenants buying pets?
If her therapist does prescribe an animal for her, and you contact the therapist and confirm the prescription you are required to accommodate the animal, same as you would if your tenant became disabled and placed in a wheelchair.
You can set the accommodation rules, where the pet can go potty, how often it is to be cleaned up, no barking to disturb neighbors, rabies shots, not under 6 months, potty trained, etc.
You might want to tell the tenant that your insurance does not cover liability for certain breeds and if her therapist or she ends up with one of the breeds your insurance does not cover she will be required to find and pay for a policy to cover you before bringing the animal onto the premises. Or you can deny if you can not change insurance because of the administrative burden.
And yes, its generally a scam to get around no pets.
@Matthew Church I would tread lightly with this. Is this a service animal or an emotional support animal? There is a difference. You can not charge extra monies for these animals. Letter must be from someone who is currently treating the patient, not off the internet.
No telling where we are going with ESA animals, but the airlines just came out yesterday banning ESA’s. People can still bring their service animal, which is only a dog or miniature ponies.
Be cautious , it has nothing to do with therapy and any quack can write up a script for a pitbull . It’s a scam that tenants have been using for a long time now . You let that mutt in the house and you’ll be the one who needs therapy
Make sure you get with your lawyer and write an addendum to your lease which forces them to have renters insurance that covers the pet. Insurance agencies can't discriminate on breed anymore if it's a dog, so having this as part of your lease makes sure that if they don't have insurance in force you can evict for breach of lease.
Be careful on this one so you don't violate fair housing. Would most people benefit from a pet, sure that's why we have them but in my opinion they are not a medical necessity for most people and are widely abused. I would make sure you are keeping a line of communication with them and giving them a list of what your insurance as well as any local codes will allow. You only need to provide reasonable accommodation and it is unreasonable in many places to be forced to either change insurance companies or be uninsured. I would also have them fill out a profile on petscreening.com. If they have a local doctor prescribing the dog they will probably pass but this sets a precedent to do with everyone so you don't look discriminatory down the line.
@Matthew Church careful... it’s not a pet and shouldn’t be referred to as one.
Step one is consult with your lawyer right away. A landlord in our market settled a claim for $100k this year after their staff denied an emotional service pit bull.