Tenants with a “Service Dog”
I have been handling rentals for many years, but just recently had someone want to rent with what they claimed was a “Service Dog”. Since this was my first experience with a service dog, I decided I needed to learn more about it.
The first thing I learned about a “service dog”
It is easy to dress your pet to look like a service animal. Just go shop on the internet. You can get the service dog jacket, ID card, a harness and even a certificate for a mere $149.
All this fake stuff can be bought with a credit card and no proof of any disability.
I could buy all this for all my dogs and even my cat, even though I am not disabled. It is a scam that may people pull so that they can take their pooch into resturants. They do get by with it because the rules for service dogs are not clearly defined.
No guidelines for a service animal
There is no body of government at the federal or state level the monitors, trains or authorizes a service dog or any service animal. Interestingly, no landlord can turn down a rental to a service animal. Pet policies and pet deposits do not apply. You also cannot restrict the size, weight, breed, or type of animal.
Types of a Service Dog:
Therapy dog: It is a pet trained to provide comfort to people in retirement homes, hospitals and schools.
Service Animal: If your doctor determines that you are disabled (ADA American with Disability Act) and a service dog could help you lead a more normal life, you are qualified to have a service animal.
Emotional and Psychiatric Service Animal: Is an animal either for theraputic benefit or trained to help the handler with mental illness or PSD (Post Rraumatic Stress Disorder).
Here are some quick facts for landlords:
- The ADA has no requirement to register or train a service dog or animal. In order to truely qualify, you mush be legally disabled and the animal must be able to aid you.
- The service dog or animal can go anwhere the human goes. Hospitals, buildings, work places restaurants are not off limits. They can travel on airlines, and trains for free.
- The service animal does not need to be only a service dog, they can be any kind of animal that fits the need.
QUESTIONS THAT YOU MAY ASK:
1. Is the service animal required because of a disability?
2. What tasks has the animal been trained to do?
YOU CANNOT ASK:
- About the type of disability
- For medical documentation
- For Training documentation
- Ask the animal to perform
Service dogs can be a valuable companion for someone truely disabled. If you would like to learn more about rental property or home purchasing call Buyers Broker of Florida 407-539-1053.
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