Service dogs are animals that have been trained to perform specific tasks for people with disabilities. These dogs can help those with autism, anxiety, diabetes, epilepsy, PTSD and more. They can even help those who are blind or have low vision.
For many people, service dogs are a necessity for them to keep living a normal life. They are trained to behave properly in public places and to perform specific tasks that make their owner’s life easier. The tasks may include guiding their owner to a table or opening a door. Service dogs are not just for people with disabilities, they can also be used by caregivers and seniors.
Housing Rights and Requirements for Service Dogs
Service dogs are allowed in all public places and are often not treated any differently than other dogs. This includes hotels, restaurants, and stores. Service dogs owners may worry if their service dogs are allowed to come live at their home comfortably. The truth is that under the Fair Housing laws, landlords cannot discriminate against people with disabilities, and the law applies to the owners of service dogs as well.
A landlord cannot ask for any documentation to show that a dog is a service dog. They cannot require documentation to use the dog’s services in the home. However, they are allowed to simply ask to see proof that your pet is a service dog rather than a regular pet. This is usually in the form of a letter assigned by your doctor or a similar licensed professional. Furthermore, your landlord cannot charge the owner with extra fees. This is because service dogs are necessary for the owners’ well-being.
Can Landlords Refuse Service Dogs?
A landlord cannot refuse to rent to a person with a service dog. The Fair Housing Act makes it illegal for landlords to refuse someone with a disability the right to live in their home. Landlords are allowed to request reasonable accommodations, such as asking that you keep your dog on a leash or that you not allow your dog in certain areas of the complex.
However, there are other limitations in which a landlord can legally refuse service dogs to stay in the premises. This is if the service dog is causing a lot of issues for both the landlord and the other tenants in the building. If they’re particularly aggressive, for example, then they could be denied. Make sure your service dog can remain well-behaved in the premises.
Differences Between a Service Dog and an ESA
One thing to keep in mind is that a service dog is not the same as an emotional support animal (ESA). Many people tend to confuse the two, but they are very different.
The biggest difference between a service dog and an ESA is the type of tasks that they can perform. A service dog can do whatever his or her owner needs done. For example, a service dog can alert his or her owner when there’s a fire, pull their wheelchair around, open doors, and much more. A service dog can also perform tasks in public places, but it’s illegal for them to be disruptive while doing so. An ESA cannot always do these things, since their focus is more on providing emotional support.