Landlords looking to rent a house, condo, or apartment will waive their standard pet policy for a service animal. But what about comfort or emotional support animals? Landlords need to know what their responsibilities are under federal, state, and local laws. The experienced property managers at Lani Properties Corp CPM in Honolulu, offer their advice on comfort animal policies.
Here is what you need to know about comfort animals and what you can do as a landlord:
What Is the Difference Between Service & Comfort Animal Policies?
According to the ADA, service animals are dogs trained to do work for the benefit of an individual with a disability, such as a Guide Dog. Emotional support animals or comfort animals, on the other hand, relieve loneliness, provide companionship, and help people with depression, anxiety, and other emotional and mental disabilities. The Fair Housing Act requires landlords to make reasonable accommodations for persons with disabilities who need service animals. However, even though comfort pets don’t technically qualify as “service animals,” they may still qualify for reasonable housing accommodations by the ADA. A real estate attorney can provide counsel about what policy applies to your case.
What Can You Do as a Landlord?
When you rent a house, you cannot ask an applicant about the details of their disability. Instead, ask for written documentation from a doctor or therapist proving the applicant has a physical or mental impairment, that there is history of the issue, and that the animal assists with alleviating it. While Hawaii allows landlords to charge a pet deposit fee, reasonable accommodations for comfort animals might require waiving that deposit or even your “no pets” policy.
Pets are just some of the legal challenges to rent a house or condo. Don’t put yourself at risk. Serving the Honolulu market for over 40 years, the expert real estate agents at Lani Properties Corp CPM understand the ins and outs of federal, state, and local laws. Call (808) 521-0081 today to see how their property management can help. Visit their website for more information on the services they provide.