Did you that a service animal is not a pet? Landlords and homeowners’ associations cannot deny occupancy to someone with a service animal even if the owner or homeowners’ association has a strict “no pets” policy. A pet deposit cannot be charged nor can “pet rent.” The tenant is responsible for any damage done by the animal.
The Washington Realtor’s Hotline attorney stated the following on 1/28/14:
“There is no distinction between types of service animals….While state law requires a note from tenant’s doctor, federal law does not. The Fair Housing Law is going to be construed liberally, in favor of tenant. If the tenant claims that the dog is a service animal or produces a letter from the tenant’s doctor indicating that the tenant requires the dog(s) for comfort, landlord will be taking a significant risk to refuse to rent to tenant or to terminate tenant’s lease.”
Nothing found herein should be construed as an attempt to offer or render a legal opinion or otherwise engage in the practice of law. You should obtain the advice of an attorney well versed in these matters.