Difference Between Service, Emotional Support Animals and Pets: A Guide for Boca Raton Landlord

Difference Between Service, Emotional Support Animals and Pets: A Guide for Boca Raton Landlord

Across the U.S. states, including Florida, service and support animals enjoy numerous protections. This is due to the pivotal role they play in the well-being of people with disabilities.

Under prevailing housing laws, landlords may not discriminate against people with various mental, physical, and physiological conditions. So, if you receive a rental application from a person who has a support or service animal, you can't deny them the right to occupy your unit based on no-pet rules.

How do you tell the difference between these animals and garden-variety pets, though? Read on to discover more.

Defining Service Animals

Service animals are highly trained to perform a specific task for someone with a disability. Dogs and miniature horses usually fulfill these roles.

These animals might perform the following functions:

  • Helping blind people navigate their surroundings
  • Identifying sounds for deaf people, e.g., a doorbell
  • Assisting wheelchair-bound people with tasks
  • Seeking help for a medical incident, like an epileptic fit

Service animals are not pets. The landlord may not charge tenants a pet deposit if they want their service animal to share their accommodations with them.

What Are Support Animals?

Support animals may or may not have special training. Their role is usually a supportive one, where they provide companionship or alleviate fears for people with mental, emotional, or intellectual challenges.

They help people cope with phobias, anxiety, depression, and loneliness and can boost their motivation and self-confidence. People who require assistance from these animals should have a letter from a health professional detailing their need for it.

Support animals fall into the category of assistance animals, and you must make the same provisions for them as you would for a service animal.

Where Do Pets Fit In?

All other companion animals, like cats, fish, pet dogs, reptiles, etc., are classified as pets. Allowing pets in your rental unit can help you attract more tenants and charge higher rents.

However, these creatures may damage your property and disturb your neighbors, so it's wise to charge a pet deposit to cover any potential damages.

You aren't infringing on any tenant rights if you ask to interview the family with the pet present during the screening process. This will allow you to gauge how well-behaved and well-cared-for the animal is before making up your mind.

Make the Most of Your Boca Raton Rental Properties

Navigating the ins and outs of accommodating service and support animals can become challenging for landlords, especially if you're unfamiliar with fair housing laws. Hiring a property management firm is the best way to navigate these and any other complications you may encounter as an investment property owner.

PMI Beach Properties is your top choice when looking for assistance with your Boca Raton rental properties. We are backed by a franchise with over 20 years of experience in Florida real estate, and we are committed to our landlord's success.

We are at your service to provide landlord advice and legal information whenever you're uncertain about the way forward with your Boca Raton investment property.

Discover answers to your questions and enjoy the peace of mind that comes from working with a leading property management company.