If you have a disability or condition that necessitates the use of a service animal, you have rights. Despite the laws that exist to protect and enforce your right to use an animal for health and safety reasons, you may find that your West Palm Beach Landlord challenges these rights, even threatening eviction, extra costs and other repercussions.
Dealing with this type of issue is complex, and you may find it beneficial to seek the guidance of a West Palm Beach Attorney that can help you effectively navigate this sensitive issue. The Fair Housing Act (FHA) grants you and your service animal rights, and a violation of these rights could be grounds for legal action.
The difference between a service animal and an assistance animal
Service animals receive specific and special training to do certain tasks for their owners. These include guide dogs for the blind or dogs trained to recognize dangerous foods for those with severe allergies. Most often, service animals are dogs.
Assistance animals are any type of animal that provides comfort or support to the owner. This can include emotional and physical support, such as:
- Alerting owner of oncoming seizures;
- Helping alleviate depression;
- Reducing stress and anxiety; and/or
- Alerting owner of visitors or people at the door.
The FHA covers your need for either a service animal or assistance animal. Your landlord may not discriminate against you because of this need, but you may need to show that your animal is a legitimate service or assistance animal. You may do this with a letter from your doctor or your therapist. See also F.S. 413.08 Rights and responsibilities of an individual with a disability; use of a service animal; prohibited discrimination in public employment, public accommodations, and housing accommodations; penalties
Your Uncooperative West Palm Beach Landlord
Even after providing your landlord with the necessary documentation validating your need for a service or assistance animal, he or she could still be uncooperative. In this case, you have the option to file a discrimination complaint. In order to better understand your options and your rights as a disabled individual, you would find it beneficial to seek help from a experienced West Palm Beach Attorney, such as The Law Office of Ryan S. Shipp, PLLC.
There are exceptions to the FHA rule. While most housing is included under this act, the following are not:
- Rental properties with four or fewer units, one being owner occupied
- Single family homes rented directly through the owner
- Housing owned by religious organizations or private clubs
Service animals and assistance animals are not technically pets; and, therefore, your landlord does not have grounds to charge you a pet fee. When it comes to housing discrimination or unfair treatment due to your medical, emotional and physical needs, there is no need to face this alone. With the right help, you can effectively confront this issue and perhaps secure a positive outcome to your problem.
If you are living in a rental property in West Palm Beach and have a service animal, you may be wondering if your landlord can stop you from having your furry companion. The answer to this question depends on the nature of your animal and your personal circumstances.
First of all, it’s important to understand what a service animal is. A service animal is an animal that is trained to perform a specific task or function for an individual with a disability. This includes dogs, cats, and other animals that have been trained to provide assistance to people with physical, emotional, or mental disabilities.
Under the Fair Housing Act (FHA), landlords are required to make reasonable accommodations for tenants with disabilities. This means that if you have a service animal that is necessary for you to live in your rental property, your landlord cannot stop you from having it. They are required to make reasonable accommodations to allow your service animal to live with you, even if they have a “no pets” policy in place.
However, it’s important to note that not all animals qualify as service animals. Emotional support animals, for example, are not considered service animals under the FHA. This means that if you have an emotional support animal, your landlord is not required to make accommodations for it, and they may be able to prevent you from having it in your rental property.
If you have a service animal and your landlord is trying to prevent you from having it, there are steps you can take. You can contact a local fair housing organization or an attorney who specializes in housing discrimination to help you understand your rights and take legal action if necessary.
If you’re dealing with a FHA issue, call us today @ 561.699.0399 to set-up your in-office consultation. We are located in Lantana, Florida, we serve West Palm Beach, Lake Worth, Boynton Beach, and south Florida.