According to Wikipedia, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was enacted in 1990 by the U.S. Congress. The ADA is a civil rights law that is meant to protect against the discrimination based on disability. Title II of the act applies to all state and local housing, housing assistance and housing referrals through the Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity.
In the rental market, owners, landlords and even Modesto property management companies may not discriminate against people with disabilities. This goes one step further in that owners and landlords must allow service animals in properties that they would otherwise not allow any pets and they may not require a pet deposit or additional pet rent.
Recently, there has been an increase in prospective applicants stating that they have a companion animal. Some don’t even mention pets on their applications and once the animals are discovered they state the animal is a companion animal. It is unfortunate that something that is meant to aid the disabled is being abused by some people. This has started a distrust that is arising between landlords and tenants in the Modesto area.
In researching this article, I found there is a difference between a service animal, a companion animal and an emotional support animal. According to the ADA National Network, a service animal is any dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability, including a physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual, or other mental disability. Other species of animals, whether wild or domestic, trained or untrained, are not considered service animals. The work or tasks performed by a service animal must be directly related to the individual’s disability. The crime deterrent effects of an animal’s presence and the provision of emotional support, well-being, comfort, or companionship are not considered work or tasks for purposes of the definition of a service animal.
According to Wikipedia, a companion animal is kept primarily for a person’s company or protection. An emotional support animal is a companion animal which provides therapeutic benefit, such as alleviating or mitigating some symptoms of the disability, to an individual with a mental or psychiatric disability. Emotional support animals are typically dogs and cats, but may include other animals. In order to be prescribed an emotional support animal by a physician or other medical professional, the person seeking such an animal must have a verifiable disability.
The overlapping definitions leave room for interpretation and open landlords to liabilities. If you do not want to deal with the growing headaches of managing your Modesto area rental properties, call New Bridge Management.