No-Pets Policy and Emotional Support Animals


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The right to have an emotional support animal often depends on if the individual has a disability or if the emotional support animal is to assist with those that have severe emotional or psychological issues. When the individual has a disability, he or she usually has the right to bring this creature with him or her in most circumstances.

When the building is a commercial real estate property, a residential rental or a business selling to non-consumers, someone that has a disability is afforded a right to have an emotional support animal with him or her in most situations. If this is a landlord with a no-pets policy, it is unlawful to deny housing based on this procedure. The emotional support animal is not a pet, and he or she should not be considered by one. There is documentation explaining what the creature is and why the individual has him or her. Usually, the disability is either physical or emotional, and the animal may be helpful in a variety of ways to the person.

Emotional support animals are explained by medical professionals to help greatly with someone exhibiting a physical disability. These persons could be blind, deaf or without a limb. When the individual is emotionally traumatized, the animal may be a comfort or assists with keeping the person calm in public. While a landlord may restrict pets within the housing units, these creatures are usually exempt from these clauses through federal laws. Those with special needs such as the mentally disabled are permitted to keep the animal with them in the building where they live. This is due to reasonable accommodations being given to these persons based on federal statutes.

The Right Explained

When someone has a mental disability as explained by the federal government, these laws permit him or her to retain the use of an emotional support animal within rental unites even if there are no pets permitted provisions. These individuals are entitled to these animals due to reasonable accommodations which include this type of support as specified in federal statutes for disabled citizens. The courts agree that someone with an emotional or psychological disability is provided the use of an emotional support animal no matter what provision for no pets exists with housing and other establishments. When this is not permitted by the landlord, he or she has violated federal laws and may owe damages to the disabled tenant for the situation.

Qualifying for these specific laws requires the person has a disability listed or included in these statutes. The landlord that he or she will or is renting from must know of the disability. Additionally, the landlord must waive his or her no pets policy and ensure the tenant has use of the emotional support animal. These disabilities may include a mental deficiency, illness, special learning complications and similar concerns. If this is mental impairments, he or she must not have the capacity to perform major life activities alone. This may involve walking, working, moving about and similar concerns.

Waiving the No Pets Policy

When a disabled person has the need of an emotional support animal, he or she is required to request a waiver of the no pets policy from the landlord. This includes an explanation as to why it is needed such as a mental disability exists, and the emotional support provided by the animal lessens the negative consequences of the disability. There is no need to discuss the matter as a doctor’s note is effective in detailing this need. The note usually describes the accommodation necessary. The disability must be within the federal standards, or the no pets policy cannot be waived unless the landlord is lenient. The animal and the disability should have a connection such as the support provided by the creature’s presence.

There are exceptions to these provisions such as a great financial or administrative burden placed on the landlord to waive the no pets policy. This could include a fundamental connection to the housing program and the no pets or if the disabled individual is unable to adhere to tenancy rules. However, there are few circumstances where this would occur.

Legal Help with No Pets Waivers

When a violation occurs to the waiver, it is important to contact a lawyer for possible damages owed to the disabled person. The legal representative will look at the evidence provided and pursue action if necessary.


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Disclaimer: While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication, it is not intended to provide legal advice as individual situations will differ and should be discussed with an expert and/or lawyer.

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