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Your Rights as a Renter with a Service Animal

Disabled Palmdale Renter in Wheelchair with Service DogIf you are a Palmdale renter and own a service or emotional support animal, it is critical to recognize your rights. Multiple renters are unaware that, no matter the property owner’s rules, they may keep a service or emotional support animal in their rental homes. This blog post will explain the laws that protect renters who own service or emotional support animals. We will also deliver 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 persons with disabilities. These roles can include but are not limited to guiding people who are blind, notifying people who are deaf, pulling a wheelchair, informing and assisting a person who is having a seizure, or soothing 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. Many companion animals can qualify as emotional support animals as long as you have a letter from your medical provider or therapist that states you need the animal.

Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), service animals are legal 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 classified as 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 have a service or emotional support animal, you are not bound to pay any pet fees or deposits. But you may be accountable for damages caused by your animal. For instance, if your animal chews on furniture or urinates on the flooring, or if you refuse to clean up the animal’s waste, you will undoubtedly be charged for those repairs. Before signing a lease, it is necessary to have a conversation with your property owner about your service or emotional support animal. This will effectively mitigate misunderstandings about your rights and responsibilities as a renter.

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

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

Imagine your landlord is threatening to evict you (or refuses to rent to you) for having a service or emotional support animal. As a result, 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 restricts 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 see that you have been discriminated against.

If you face eviction relating to your service or emotional support animal, it is advisable to seek legal help immediately. An experienced attorney can help you understand 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 find more information on service and emotional support animals at the ADA National Network website. The ADA National Network is a wellspring of information and technical emotional support on the Americans with Disabilities Act.


Learning your rights will allow you and your service or emotional support animal to live a happy life in your rental home. But if your landlord is meddling with your privileges, it might be time to move to a location managed by professionals who appreciate 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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