What Phoenix Landlords Need to Know About Support Animals

What Phoenix Landlords Need to Know About Support Animals

Emotional support animals have gone from a niche accommodation request to a common reality for landlords across the country. The number of requests for ESAs has gone up dramatically since the pandemic started. Factor in the fact that renters are requesting exotic animals like skunks and squirrels as ESAs, and you'll find a lot of flummoxed landlords.

Do you want to know what your rights and responsibilities are when it comes to emotional support animals in Phoenix, Arizona? Read on to learn everything you need to know!

What Is an Emotional Support Animal?

Every pet owner has an emotional connection with their pet, but an emotional support animal takes that to another level. Support animals are prescribed by mental health professionals to people who have specific mental illnesses like depression and anxiety. Think of support animals as a form of therapy like prescription medication or talk therapy.

One of the most common support animals is a dog, but they come in various species. Some people have cats, but pot-bellied pigs, goats, and even miniature horses serve as support animals.

Emotional Support Animals vs. Service Animals

Emotional support animals and service animals are two vastly different categories.

Service animals are basically medical equipment for disabled people. They provide critical services to people such as guiding the visually impaired and detecting seizures or low blood sugar. For these reasons, they're highly trained and protected by the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Emotional support animals are not required to be trained in any specific way. That means they might not be as well-behaved as you would expect a service animal to be. They can also cause damage to your rental property if they aren't properly trained.

You can work with your tenants during the screening process to find responsible ESA owners.

Do You Have to Allow Support Animals?

The short answer is yes.

The Fair Housing Act requires landlords to accept support animals without charging a pet deposit or pet fee/rent. That doesn't mean ESAs get free reign on your property. People with ESAs must adhere to community leash and clean-up rules, and they're responsible for any damage that their ESA does to your property.

You have the right to ask tenants to remove their ESA if they pose a serious risk to the property or others in the community. If you are using your rental property for short-term rentals, work with a property management company to determine what you need to do.

Want More Landlord Tips?

Landlords might find dealing with emotional support animals to be a little bit thorny, but the Fair Housing Act requires you to work with renters who have a legitimate need for them. They don't have formal training like service animals, but you do have options if the animal isn't safe. Working with tenants in good faith is the best way to proceed!

Do you want help making sure you stay in compliance with laws like the Fair Housing Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act? Contact PMI Phoenix Golden West today for help with everything from compliance to real estate investment decisions!