Dogs, cats, birds, and sometimes reptiles. Everyone loves their pets, and renters with pets are always dismayed when a rental will not allow for pets - it makes finding the perfect rental that more difficult. If you’re a landlord that restricts pets in your properties make sure to be aware of the requirement to allow service animals for those with disabilities, either physical or mental. This requirement is part of the federal fair housing laws, and all of LeaseRunner’s lease agreements contain language that exempts service animals for the disabled in the section on pets.

How do I know

If your renter has a service animal make sure that you receive documentation from a certified medical professional that the animal is required for their disability. It is wise to keep copies of this documentation in the event you need to provide it to a condo board or other governing body of your community. In a tight rental market some clever renters have tried to bypass the “no pets” requirement by claiming service animal status for their pet. Always seek documentation!

Pet deposits

If your renter has a legitimate service animal you are generally not allowed to seek a pet deposit for that animal, since it is technically not a pet, it is a working service animal. Any damages beyond wear and tear that can be attributed to the service animal would therefore be taken from the security deposit provided by the renter. As with all property damage, make sure to document the damage visually with photos including a time and date stamp.