Difference Between Service, Emotional Support Animals and Pets

Difference Between Service, Emotional Support Animals and Pets

Do you own rental properties in Charlotte, NC? With Charlotte's attractive job opportunities, home prices have continued to appreciate at historic rates.

If you are planning to buy rental properties or already own some, you need to know the sometimes complicated laws and regulations regarding tenants' rights.

Can you deny someone with an emotional support animal? What are the laws about service animals?

Are you putting your Charlotte, NC investment property up for rent? As a landlord, it's important to know the difference between service animals, support animals, and pets in a rental property.

Service Animals Defined

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) defines service dogs as individually trained dogs to work or perform tasks for people with disabilities.

Disabilities can include physical, psychiatric, intellectual, sensory, or other mental disabilities. The dog's work has to be directly related to the person's disability.

Examples of some of the services the dogs perform are listed below.

  • Lead the blind.
  • Alert deaf people to sounds.
  • Detect and lessen the effects of seizures or psychiatric events.
  • Help those with physical disabilities open doors or cabinets or carry things.

State and local laws may differ in their definitions, so it's important to check with the North Carolina State Attorney General's Office or consult a property manager.

What Is the Difference Between Support Animals and Service Animals?

Support animals do not get the same status as service dogs. The ADA does not classify them as service dogs.

Service dogs go through rigorous training. Even though support animals may be trained for their specific owner, the training does not include performing duties to help a person with a disability.

Emotional support dogs have a legitimate purpose and can help those with things like anxiety, depression, or panic attacks. A mental health professional must prescribe an emotional support animal for it to be considered as such.

The prescription follows a psychological or emotional disorder diagnosis.

How Do They Differ From Pets?

A landlord has every right to prohibit pets from their property, but the law differs when it comes to service and support animals.

People with support animals have only limited legal rights. They must have a letter from the owner's doctor. Pets and support animals do not have unlimited access to public spaces in the way that service animals do.

But similar to service animals, the Fair Housing Act mandates that "reasonable accommodations" be made for emotional support animals even in rentals that do not allow pets. Making such accommodations will strengthen the tenant-landlord relationship.

A Property Manager Can Help

Now that you know the difference between support animals, service animals, and pets when it involves a renter's rights, you'll be covered when looking to fill vacancies.

Do you know who can help you sort out the ins and outs of renting? The team at PMI Amazing Spaces is dedicated to providing our clients with the best customer service. We work to maximize owner profitability.

Check out our services and set up a consultation via our website or reach us by calling 980.785.4434.