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Your Rights as a Renter with a Service Animal

Disabled Burbank Renter in Wheelchair with Service DogIf you are a Burbank renter and have a service or emotional support animal, it is advisable to know your rights. Several renters do not know that they can keep a service or emotional support animal in their rental homes, disregarding the property owner’s rules. This blog post will analyze the laws that protect renters who have service or emotional support animals. We will also furnish tips on communicating with your property owner if there is an issue with keeping your service or emotional support animal in your home.

What is a service or emotional support animal, and what rights do you have under the law?

Service animals are defined as animals trained to perform tasks for someone with disabilities. These tasks can include but are not limited to guiding people who are blind, alarming people who are deaf, pulling a wheelchair, informing and aiding a person who is having a seizure, or relaxing a person with post-traumatic stress disorder.

An emotional support animal does not need to be trained to perform a specific service to provide benefits to its owners. Numerous companion animals can qualify as emotional support animals as long as you possess a letter from your medical provider or therapist testifying that you need the animal.

Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), service animals are acceptable in public places, including rental homes. Emotional support animals are not protected under the ADA but are allowed in rental homes, even if a landlord has a “no pet” policy. Service and emotional support animals are not considered pets under the law, and therefore, property owners cannot charge pet fees or deposits for them.

How to handle deposits, fees, and other costs associated with having a service or emotional support animal.

If you own a service or emotional support animal, you do not have to pay any pet fees or deposits. On the other hand, you may be held liable for damages caused by your animal. For illustration, if your animal chews on furniture or urinates on the flooring, or if you neglect to eliminate the animal’s waste, you will probably be charged for those repairs. It is a good idea to have a conversation with your property owner about your service or emotional support animal before signing a lease. This will effectively avoid misunderstandings about your rights and responsibilities as a renter.

Some landlords may require that you show proof of insurance for your service or emotional support animal. This is not demanded by law, but it is something you should be prepared to address with your Burbank property manager.

What to do if your landlord tries to evict you for having a service or emotional support animal.

Presume your landlord wants to evict you (or refuses to rent to you) for having a service or emotional support animal. Therefore, you may have grounds to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The department’s Civil Rights Division enforces the Fair Housing Act, which vetoes discrimination in housing based on disability.

You can also file a complaint with your state’s attorney general’s office or the human rights commission. These agencies can examine your complaint and take legal action against your landlord if they conclude that you have been discriminated against.

If you are experiencing eviction because of your service or emotional support animal, it is a good idea to seek legal help as soon as possible. An experienced attorney can help you recognize your rights and options under the law.

Resources for further information on renters’ rights and service or emotional support animals.

For more information on your rights as a renter, you can approach the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). HUD enforces the Fair Housing Act and can investigate complaints of discrimination in housing.

You can also seek additional information on service and emotional support animals at the ADA National Network website. The ADA National Network is a resource for information and technical emotional support on the Americans with Disabilities Act.


You and your service or emotional support animal may live peacefully in your rental home by understanding your privileges. But if your landlord is interfering with your rights, it might be time to move to a place managed by professionals who are familiar with and follow the law. Browse our listings for service animal-friendly rental homes in your area.

We are pledged to the letter and spirit of U.S. policy for the achievement of equal housing opportunity throughout the Nation. See Equal Housing Opportunity Statement for more information.

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