Service Animals and Emotional Support Animals

Can I be evicted for having a service animal?

No.  By law, a landlord must accommodate someone who has a service animal.  This is true even if the landlord has a no pets policy.  A landlord is required to waive its no pets policy to accommodate a disabled person in need of a service animal.  A tenant in need of a service animal need only supply proof that the tenant is disabled and that their animal has been certified as a service animal or emotional support animal.  Once such is provided, the landlord must accept the service animal.  It is a violation of federal law for a landlord to attempt to evict someone who has a service animal or emotional support animal.

Does a person have to be classified as disabled in order to get a service animal?

Yes.  This is not a difficult thing to establish.  If a medical doctor determines that a person is emotionally handicapped due to life’s circumstances, the doctor can prescribe a service animal.  Once diagnosed as disabled, a landlord cannot reject a tenant’s diagnoses of a medical disability and, therefore, must accept their request for a service animal or emotional support animal.

Is there a difference between a service animal and an emotional support animal?

No.  Both are permitted by law.  A service dog may perform various functions for a person, but an animal is not required to perform functions to be admitted.  The mere fact that an animal brings peace and satisfaction to a person who suffers emotional distress, is grounds to permit such animal to act as an emotional support animal.

What animals can act as service animals?

Virtually any animal within reason can act as a service animals.  Courts have approved of birds, cats, and dogs as emotional support animals.

Can my landlord increase my security deposit because of my service animal?

No.  It would be a violation of federal law for a landlord to increase your security deposit due to you requesting a service animal.

Does my service animal have to be specially trained before I can use it?

No.  The law does not require a service animal to be specially trained.