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Difference Between Service, Emotional Support Animals and Pets

Difference Between Service, Emotional Support Animals and Pets

There's been a dramatic rise in the number of official emotional support animals in the past few years. Experts say this is partly due to the need to find housing.

Service animals, emotional support animals (ESAs), and pets are distinct categories. It's crucial for rental property owners to grasp these differences. This helps with concerning the legal status of service animals within rented properties.

Read on to learn about the differences for each type and more.

Service Animals Are a Vital Assistance That's Protected by Law

Service animals are strictly trained to help people with disabilities. For instance, they can guide the blind or alert deaf individuals.

Instead of pets, these are working animals that are essential for their owners' daily functioning.

Legal Protections

The Americans with Disabilities Act gives service animals specific legal protections. Landlords are obligated to make accommodations for tenants who need service animals, even in properties with no-pet policies.

Service animals can't be refused entry or charged extra fees, either.

Emotional Support Animals Offer Their Owner's Comfort

Emotional support animals are some people's main source of companionship and mental comfort. This is especially helpful for people who have been diagnosed with emotional or mental disorders.

Unlike service animals, ESAs don't require specific training to perform tasks. Instead, their mere presence helps ease symptoms.

Legal Considerations

ESAs are not categorized as service animals by the ADA. Still, they're protected under both the Fair Housing Act and the Air Carrier Access Act.

Landlords must accommodate tenants with ESAs by waiving pet restrictions.

However, landlords may request documentation from a qualified healthcare provider confirming the individual's need for an ESA.

Pets in a Rental Property

Pets are often kept for companionship and enjoyment.

Unlike service animals and ESAs, pets don't serve a specific purpose related to a disability or mental health condition.

Legal Restrictions

Landlords can come up with pet policies to protect their rental properties. This includes restrictions on the type, size, and number of pets allowed.

Tenants with pets are often subject to pet deposits, pet rent, and extra fees.

Legal Obligations and Responsibilities of a Property Manager

Understanding and complying with legal obligations regarding service animals, ESAs, and pets is essential.

If you don't, there could be legal repercussions, including discrimination claims and penalties.

Key Considerations for Rental Management

Familiarize yourself with federal, state, and local laws governing the rights of individuals with disabilities.

Implement clear and consistent policies regarding service animals, ESAs, and pets within your rental property. Ensure compliance with fair housing laws.

Maintain honest communication with tenants about their accommodation needs.

You Can Help Tenants With Support Animals

Now that you've learned the difference between support animals, you can accommodate them. This can increase the size of your tenant pool and shrink your vacancy rate.

Nest Finders Property Management has been going strong for almost two decades. We serve the Jacksonville and St. Augustine areas with pride. You can count on our passionate team for maintenance, tenant screening, and more.

Are you ready for a Florida property management solution you can trust? If so, don't wait to drop Nest Finders Property Management a line.