People love their animals. One just has to walk into any pet product store and witness the plethora of goods and services offered to animal lovers. From big box stores to specialty boutiques, there is no shortage of products to spoil Fluffy. According to the American Pet Product Association, the goods and services sold in the US exceeded $58 billion in 2014. To say that Americans love their pets could be an understatement. The American Fluffy, be it a cat, dog, hamster, goldfish, snake or a bird is often considered part of the family. So when people look to rent the question of “do you accept pets” inevitably comes up.
Owners almost always have opinions regarding pets in their investment property. Some owners believe that many are responsible pet owners and will accept pets in the home. Others, based on previous experience with animal owners who left the property dirty, have a strong stance against allowing pets in the home. Some fear the extent of potential damage. The number of reasons for allowing or not allowing animals in a property almost match the number of reasons why people have animals in the first place.
People get pets because they wanted to rescue an animal, their children asked for a pet, need companionship, need security, grew up with and are used having a pet, received it as a gift or a multitude of other reasons. But some people have animals because they are in need of assistance.
According to Wikipedia, service animals are animals that have been trained to perform tasks that assist people with disabilities. The Americans with Disabilities Act defines a service animal as any guide dog, signal dog, or other animal individually trained to provide assistance to an individual with a disability. If they meet this definition, animals are considered service animals under the ADA regardless of whether they have been licensed or certified by a state or local government.
Service animals perform some of the functions and tasks that the individual with a disability cannot perform. Guide dogs are one type of service animal, used by some individuals who are blind. Alerting persons with hearing impairments to sounds and pulling wheelchairs or carrying and picking up objects for persons with mobility impairments are just a few examples of tasks service animals perform. Some service animals help veterans cope with returning to civilian life. In short, a service animal is not a pet.
Landlords often require an additional security deposit and/ or an additional pet rent when renting to people with animals. However, an additional pet deposit or rent may not be demanded when renting to someone with a service animal. Demanding a pet deposit could cause liabilities to owners. At New Bridge Management, we stay abreast of changing laws so we can minimize risk and liability for owners. Contact us at 209-668-6700 to manage your property for you or visit our website.