Assistance Animals

Phil Querin Q&A: “Assistance” Animals – When Do They Become A Ruse?

 

Question:  Our community is having more and more residents who are trying to bring in dogs or other animals as “assistance” or “service” to get around signing the Pet Agreement or paying pet fees. We also have some that bring in pets that are under the weight limit as puppies, but not as adults. What can be done? And what about those breeds of dogs that have a reputation for being vicious, that residents claim are for their emotional support? Do we, as landlords, have any recourse to require residents to get rid of their animals, as they are abusing the system to circumvent our size requirements?

 

Phil Querin Q&A - Distinguishing Service Animals from Companion Animals

Question. As a follow-up to your prior Q&A about assistance animals, I’m confused as to the distinction between them, “service animals” and “companion animals.” Are we, as landlords, required to make a “reasonable accommodation,” by allowing all of them?  My understanding is that such animals cannot be counted as “pets” in regard to number, size, breed, or anything else as it relates to park Rules and Regulations. The exception being for animals that cause disturbance, injury, or is threating.  Please clarify.

Phil Querin Q&A - Assistance Animal - First There Were Two, Now Two More and Counting ....

Question: It has recently come to our attention that a tenant is in violation of our two-pet policy, as she has admitted that she has 4 small dogs living in her home.  When we speak with her through her door, the smell of dog urine is overwhelming. We have mailed her a letter explaining that this is rules violation and asked that she remove two of the pets by a certain date.  Our letter warned that if she failed to comply, she would be sent a 30-Day Notice to Vacate.

 

She stated she would keep the two extra dogs and claim them as service animal. This week she gave us a letter from her nurse practitioner stating she needed the pets for a medical condition. What are our options? We would like to serve her a 30 Day Notice to Vacate for Cause (violating our 2 pet policy). However, she has been speaking with advocacy groups that tell her we have no right to make her get rid of the two “service animals.”

 

We feel that it is our responsibility as landlords to consistently enforce our community rules, but also don't want to get dragged into costly litigation just to lose in the end due to federal regulations of some kind.

Phil Querin Q and A - "Assistance” Animals – When Do They Become A Ruse?

 

Question:  Our community is having more and more residents who purchase pets as puppies, sign the MHCO Pet Agreement that CLEARLY STATES our maximum 25 pound weight limit, and then over time, and the animal becomes too large, they refuse to remove it from the community, and claim their pet is really a “service animal,” “assistance animal,” “emotional support animal” or some such other animal which they believe protects them from us enforcing the size limits they previously agreed to.  What can be done? Do we, as landlords, have any recourse to require residents to get rid of their animals, as they are abusing the system to circumvent our size requirements?