Difference Between Service, Emotional Support Animals and Pets

Difference Between Service, Emotional Support Animals and Pets

Under the Fair Housing Act, landlords must make special provisions for assistance animals. These include support animals and service animals.

The first step in understanding these laws is knowing the difference between pets, service animals, and support animals. Without this knowledge, you could fall foul of the law.

Keep reading to find out more about this topic and how it applies to your Denver, Colorado, investment property.

About Pets in Rental Properties

Deciding on a pet policy is an important decision when you decide to allow tenants in your Denver investment property. So, it makes sense to consider the pros and cons before you do.

Around 62% of American families own pets, and most consider them a part of the family. Dedication to their animals means they're likely to go to great lengths to ensure they're comfortable and cared for.

In this light, pet owners usually make good tenants. They take care of your property, renew their leases, and pay rent on time. Due to the scarcity of suitable properties, they're also prepared to pay more for these homes.

When you advertise a pet-friendly home, you're likely to receive more applications and find new tenants faster.

Some negatives associated with allowing pets on your rental property include the risk of pets:

  • Chewing and digging
  • Soiling flooring materials
  • Creating foul, lingering odors in the home
  • Making a disturbance by barking incessantly
  • Biting neighbors or visitors

Tenant screening is an important part of managing rental properties and can help you determine if a pet-owning family is a good fit for you. Before you agree to allow pets, arrange an interview with the prospective tenant and ask them to bring their dog or cat along.

Meeting the pet beforehand can help you gauge whether it's well-cared for, trained, and generally well-behaved.

What Do Service Animals Do?

Service animals aren't pets; they're highly trained dogs or miniature horses that perform vital tasks for people with disabilities. These include:

  • Guiding blind people
  • Helping people with hearing problems identify sounds
  • Anticipating seizures and getting help
  • Fetching items for people with mobility issues

The key factor in defining a service animal is action. They must have a specific role in the person's life.

Defining Support Animals

Support animals are a broader category. They provide comfort and companionship to people with psychological issues. These dogs may have specialized training, but they don't perform specific actions.

In Colorado, a medical professional must prescribe the need for a support animal in writing. You may ask your prospective tenant to provide this document during the screening process.

Support Animals

Although you have no say when it comes to service and support animals, it's up to you whether you allow pets in your rental property. A property manager can help you navigate all the challenges associated with tenants' legal rights and their animals.

The team at PMI Aspire has over two decades of experience in Colorado real estate. Our property managers' responsibilities include managing tenant deposits, screening tenants, and conducting property inspections.

We can help you preserve the value of your property and make the best decisions for your rental business.

Discover the ease of working with property management specialists in Denver, Colorado.