Difference Between Service, Emotional Support Animals and Pets

Difference Between Service, Emotional Support Animals and Pets

Around 86.9 million households in America own at least one pet. So it makes sense for many landlords to offer pet-friendly accommodation to potential tenants.

Despite this potential for attracting more interest in your accommodation, nothing forces you to allow animals in your rental home, except the Americans with Disabilities Act.

This far-reaching legislation means that you can't discriminate against people with disabilities when renting your home. The laws include those people who need animal companions for their well-being.

Read on to discover the difference between, service animals, pets, and support animals.

Service Animals

By definition, service animals have specific training and perform specific acts that help their owners manage their disability. In most cases, dogs fulfill this role, but in Indianapolis, this definition extends to miniature horses, too.

Types of service animals include those trained to:

  • Help blind people navigate life
  • Alert deaf people to sounds
  • Detect and defuse psychiatric episodes
  • Assist people in wheelchairs with simple tasks
  • Assist people on the autism spectrum with sensory signals
  • Guard or get help for a person having a seizure

It's easy to see why laws exist to ensure that people with disabilities may cohabit with their service animals.

Support Animals

Support animals rarely enjoy the same privileges as their service counterparts. They are companion animals that provide therapeutic benefits for people with medically-diagnosed disabilities.

These animals don't receive special training for their role. Their owners must have medical documentation for their animals to receive this classification.

In Indiana, landlords cannot discriminate against people with emotional support animals as long as they have a letter from an accredited institution describing their affliction. However, landlords can refuse to accommodate animals that pose a threat to other occupants of their building.

You can't charge pet fees or extra security deposits for emotional support animals or service animals.

Pets in Your Rental Property

All other animals that tenants may want to bring onto your property are classified as pets. Different types of pets include everything from fish to horses.

In most cases, it makes sense to allow tenant pets, because:

  • You can charge more for pet-friendly properties
  • They usually take good care of your home
  • They're inclined to renew their leases

You aren't obliged to allow all types of pets on your property. You can restrict occupancy according to pet size, species, or breed. You may also charge additional fees and a deposit if you agree to accept pets.

Stay Informed and In Line with the Law

Support animals can be a gray area for many landlords as definitions vary from state to state. If you're not sure about where you stand when it comes to these creatures, it's best to hire an accomplished property manager to ensure you act within the law.

PMI Midwest is backed by over 20 years of experience with Indianapolis real estate. We are familiar with all the intricacies of managing investment properties in the Indianapolis area to help you maximize your investments.

Discover the key to success with your investment properties today.