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Houston Property Management Tips

Do You Have to Allow Support Animals in Your Houston Rental Property?

Do You Have to Allow Support Animals in Your Houston Rental Property?

Did you know that there are over 200,000 support animals in the US? 

While support animals are a lifeline for people with disabilities, they can pose many questions for landlords. If you're a landlord that doesn't allow pets, what do you do when your tenant announces they're moving a dog into your property for emotional support? 

This is a tricky situation, and you need to learn all about Houston landlord laws to avoid falling out with tenants and potentially breaking the law. 

That's where we come in; read this simple guide to understand all about your rights as a landlord when it comes to support animals. 

What Is a Support Animal? 

There is a difference between a pet and an assistance animal. Simply put, a pet is a domesticated animal any person may choose to own. 

However, when it comes to support animals, there are two kinds: service animals and emotional support animals. 

Service animals (such as guide dogs) are for severe disabilities and can be life essential.

The need for emotional support animals is more open to interpretation. An emotional support animal could be anything from a goldfish to a dog. 

Do You Have to Allow a Support Animal? 

Generally, you do need to allow a tenant to have a support animal. Under the Fair Housing Act, an assistance animal is considered a reasonable accommodation for a landlord to make. 

However, if you can prove that this animal would cost you significant money or that the property would need to be altered, you can apply to reject the tenancy. 

Additionally, you can check whether the animal is a registered support animal. Your tenant must be able to provide an ESA letter proving the need for this animal. 

If it becomes apparent that the animal is not a registered service or support animal, you can try discussing pet rent, pet fees, or decline their application entirely. 

How Can You Protect Yourself as a Landlord?

Houston renting laws mean that tenants do not have to disclose their support animal before signing a lease. Therefore, you could have a big surprise on moving day. 

Additionally, there's a reason most landlords don't like to allow pets - from damage to noise complaints, they can cause a headache for any landlord. 

The best way to ensure a healthy landlord-tenant relationship is to hire property management services. These professionals will deal with disputes and advise on the legal rights of each party. 

Stay On the Right Side of the Law With Support Animals

Support animals are a lifeline for many Americans; unfortunately, they also pose difficulties for landlords. 

However, make sure you don't end up in court due to a lack of knowledge about Houston renting laws! 

At TERRA Residential Services, we can provide expert advice and property management for you. Our goal is to make your landlord experience as easy as possible and handle any issues for you. 

Why not contact us today to see how we can help you?