What are the current Utah laws concerning emotional support animals? Are there same laws for someone who is renting out a single-family home vs. apartment complex?
I've been contacted by someone who is interested in renting my single family house and she has a cat who is an emotional support animal. She says that she has a letter from ESA. I posted on my ad that i don't rent to people cats, but in this case, do i even get a choice to say no? Can I charge pet deposit or pet rent with emotional support animals (or is it pretty much same like with service animals)? Who or how am I going to pay for the damages when she moves out and the carpet, pad and floorboards need to be replaced because it is soaked with cat urine?
Emotional support animals are to be treated just like service animals you can't say no you can't charge extra rent or an extra deposit and it would just come from the normal deposit if the cat damaged the property. I always request to have a doctor's note and that typically stops those who are abusing the system.
How many properties do you own? There is validity in this question and it pertains to what you asked.
I have 2 single-family homes that i rent.
In that case, Becca is incorrect. If you own fewer than four rentals and you don’t use a broker or agent to rent your property you don’t have to adhere to the fair housing act.
You aren’t required to modify the property at your expense to accommodate the disabled Tenant. You are however required to make reasonable accommodations If your property were to fall under fair housing
@Kristi Harmon @Ryan Mertens is right when you own under four your not required to follow the fair housing act. I did find out from my lawyer as a Realtor that rule probably wouldn't hold up in court if a Realtor owned less than four homes they would still have to adhere to the fair housing. Just food for thought for those thinking of getting their real estate license.
@Kristi Harmon We deal with this situation literally everyday. There are a few things to consider. First of all, you are not required to rent to this person if you have another more qualified prospect. So, if you haven't already I would continue looking for prospects and find another more suitable candidate. Just let the prospect with the emotional support animal know that the other applicant was chosen for some other reason besides not having an emotional support animal (higher credit score, better rental history, etc.)
If you do decide to rent to this tenant make sure that you not only require them to fill out your emotional support animal paper work, but also call the doctor who prescribed the emotional support animal to confirm everything that was put down on the form.
If you have already signed a lease agreement with this person you will not be able to charge pet rent, pet deposit, pet fee, etc. I would however have them sign a cleaning addenda that outlines what they can expect during their move-out inspection and what the associated fees will be.
Upon move-out inspect the apartment and bill the tenant for all damages. Make sure to pull up carpet to look for urine stains, check all baseboards for scratch marks, etc. You will be returning the apartment to the condition it was in before they lived there so make sure to charge them accordingly.
Depending on the strength of your lease, those fees can come out of their security deposit and anything above and beyond that should be billed to them. Make sure you help them understand that if they do not pay their bill you will be handing it off to collections and their credit will be severely effected.
The best answer though is to simply find a more qualified tenant and avoid this whole mess.
Feel free to reach out if you have any questions :)
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