The current “money maker” for attorneys isn’t asbestos, lead or mold, it’s Emotional Support Animals – and landlords need to know what they can and cannot do in today’s litigious rental world.
A tenant has the right to bring their service dogs and emotional support animals to live with them in many circumstances. In short, Landlords may not refuse to make “reasonable accommodations” in their rules or policies if such accommodations are necessary to afford a person with a disability the “equal opportunity” to use and enjoy a house or apartment.
This means that a landlord that does not allow a tenant to keep pets on the premises may be required to allow an individual with a physical or mental disability to have an animal (and not just dogs) that provides disability-related assistance.
All it takes is a letter from a doctor, psychologist or even a marriage counselor and they are legally allowed to have the pet and without a pet deposit. It doesn’t seem fair, but accepting an emotional support animal without a deposit is far less expensive than a frivolous lawsuit.
So be weary of declining an applicant, or a current tenant, that wants a pet-mate as there are lawyers circling around with fake applicants who call specifically to prey on the unknowing innocent owners of Orange County rental properties.