Mesa Property Management Blog

Pets vs. Service Animals – What is the Difference? Mesa Property Management Education

Pets vs. Service Animals – What is the Difference? Mesa Property Management Education
Service animals and pets are very different, and today we’re explaining why you have the option to accept or deny pets, but not service animals.   [embed][/embed]

Property Management Mesa: Pet Policy

Potential clients might say they want a strict no pet policy for their rental property, and we respect that. Lots of families have pets, so I discourage a no pet policy. It’s understandable that owners may hesitate before allowing pets, because they can cause property damage, and they come with risk. However, most families looking for rental homes have pets. That’s the reality. So, we have a blanket policy where we’ll charge $25 per month in pet rent and collect a $200 deposit per pet. Still, if you don’t want pets, we will say no pets to prospective tenants on your behalf.

Service Animals

If a tenant moves in and has a service animal, you cannot say no to that animal. You cannot charge pet deposits or pet rent. The way the law looks at service animals is not the same way it looks at a pet. It’s more like a medical prescription. So if an individual has a medical need, and the pet helps that need, it has to be allowed. The tenant is liable for any damage that the animal causes, but you cannot collect an increased deposit or more rent every month.

Breed Restrictions

Service animals can be anything. This is a hot topic in the housing community, especially when it comes to breed restrictions. There is a blanket policy where we don’t accept attack breeds, but what if a service animal is a pit bull or a German shepherd? Those aren’t pets, so the doctor prescribing a service animal overrules anything we would do with that risk. The tenant inherits the risk, and must control the animal. If it’s a Seeing Eye dog or a comfort animal, it can be any type of animal that offers aid to an individual. As long as a medical provider has authorized use of this animal, as a landlord you need to accept it. To deny it comes with huge ramifications, including fines and penalties.
If you find yourself in the situation where you’re not sure how to handle a service animal, please contact us at East Valley Property Management. We can help you with all of your Mesa property management needs.

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