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Your Rights as a Renter with a Service Animal

Disabled Minneapolis Renter in Wheelchair with Service DogIf you are a Minneapolis renter and have a service or emotional support animal, it is beneficial to know your rights. Various renters are unaware that they can keep a service or emotional support animal in their rental homes, no matter the property owner’s rules. This blog post will examine the laws that protect renters who have service or emotional support animals. We will also give tips on communicating with your property owner if there is an issue with keeping your service or emotional support animal in your home.

What is a service or emotional support animal, and what rights do you have under the law?

Service animals are defined as animals trained to perform tasks for persons with disabilities. These activities can include but are not limited to guiding people who are blind, alerting people who are deaf, pushing a wheelchair, signaling and protecting a person who is having a seizure, or comforting a person with post-traumatic stress disorder.

An emotional support animal doesn’t need to be trained to perform a specific service to provide benefits to its owners. Many companion animals can qualify as emotional support animals if you have a letter from your medical provider or therapist certifying that you need the animal.

Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), service animals are permissible in public places, including rental homes. Emotional support animals are not protected under the ADA but are allowed in rental homes, even if a landlord has a “no pet” policy. Service and emotional support animals are not regarded as pets under the law, and therefore, property owners cannot charge pet fees or deposits for them.

How to handle deposits, fees, and other costs associated with having a service or emotional support animal.

If you have a service or emotional support animal, you are not compelled to pay any pet fees or deposits. However, you may be in charge of damages caused by your animal. For instance, if your animal chews on furniture or urinates on the flooring, or if you fail to clean up the animal’s waste, you will surely be charged for those repairs. You need to have a conversation with your property owner about your service or emotional support animal before signing a lease. This will greatly reduce misunderstandings about your rights and responsibilities as a renter.

Some landlords may want you to show proof of insurance for your service or emotional support animal. This is not requested by law, but it is something you should be prepared to discuss with your Minneapolis property manager.

What to do if your landlord tries to evict you for having a service or emotional support animal.

Suppose your landlord is threatening to evict you (or refuses to rent to you) for having a service or emotional support animal. In that situation, you may have grounds to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The department’s Civil Rights Division enforces the Fair Housing Act, which prohibits discrimination in housing based on disability.

You can also file a complaint with your state’s attorney general’s office or the human rights commission. These agencies may analyze your complaint and take legal action against your landlord if they discover that you have been discriminated against.

If you are facing eviction owing to your service or emotional support animal, it is recommended to seek legal help as soon as possible. An experienced attorney can assist you in knowing your rights and options under the law.

Resources for further information on renters’ rights and service or emotional support animals.

For more information on your rights as a renter, you can visit the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). HUD enforces the Fair Housing Act and can investigate complaints of discrimination in housing.

You can also acquire more information on service and emotional support animals at the ADA National Network website. The ADA National Network is a great tool to get information and technical emotional support on the Americans with Disabilities Act.

 

You and your service or psychological support animal will be able to live comfortably in your rental home if you understand your rights. But if your landlord is trying to limit your rights, it might be time to move to a place managed by professionals who are familiar with and follow the law. Browse our listings for service animal-friendly rental homes in your area.

We are pledged to the letter and spirit of U.S. policy for the achievement of equal housing opportunity throughout the Nation. See Equal Housing Opportunity Statement for more information.