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What Must Lake Havasu City Landlords Know About Support Animals?

What Must Lake Havasu City Landlords Know About Support Animals?

What Must Lake Havasu City Landlords Know About Support Animals?

Studies show that emotional support animals can be incredibly beneficial when it comes to improving the overall wellbeing of their owners, and they're becoming more common by the day.

This poses a problem for landlords. Do you have to allow support animals on your properties? What are they, anyway? Can you set rules and boundaries around them?

Let's talk about it. Read on to learn more.

What Is a Support Animal?

First, let's discuss what support animals are. You may hear a support animal being referred to as an ESA (emotional support animal) as well. That's what it is.

A support animal is an animal that provides comfort and assistance to people who struggle with their mental and emotional health. A mental health professional can "prescribe" a support animal just like they'd prescribe medication.

These animals offer companionship and support to help their owners feel better. Unlike regular pets, support animals are not just for fun. They have an important job. They help support the emotional needs of their owners.

Are Support Animals Pets or Service Animals?

Many people confuse support animals with either pets or service animals and assume that the same rules apply. This isn't the case. While an ESA is an assistance animal of sorts, it's not a service animal, nor is it a simple pet.

Support animals are like a mix between pets and service animals. They aren't exactly the same as regular pets because they are recognized by mental health professionals to provide emotional support to people who struggle with mental disorders and disabilities. Pets also offer support to their owners, of course, but not always on the same scale.

On the other hand, they are not exactly like service animals either. Service animals are trained to perform specific tasks to help with disabilities (such as guiding people with visual impairments or notifying owners of oncoming seizures). Support animals focus more on providing comfort and emotional well-being to their owners.

Service animals can go anywhere their owners can go. Support animals can live where their owners live, but can't necessarily go with them in public. They have housing access, but limited other rights.

Can You Set Rules for Support Animals?

Support animals are protected by the Fair Housing Act. Outside of certain situations, you must allow them even in no-pet apartments.

You can ask for paperwork or a letter from a doctor to confirm that the support animal is necessary. You can't reject a tenant just because they have a support animal. You also can't charge a pet fee or pet rent, or restrict the breed of the support animal.

You can hold the tenant responsible for their animal's behavior, however.

That's What You Need to Know About Support Animals

As a landlord, you can't deny housing access to tenants with support animals. Those animals provide essential support to their owners and help improve their quality of life! Happier tenants are tenants that renew leases, so if ESAs make your tenants happy, they should make you happy.

If you're a Lake Havasu landlord in need of property management help, Arizona Living is here for you. We customize our services to suit the needs of all of our unique clients. Reach out today to learn more.