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Houston Property Management Tips

Seeing-Eye Dogs: What Landlords Need to Know

Seeing-Eye Dogs: What Landlords Need to Know

There are over 30 million people in Texas right now, and many of them need places to rent. But, some of those people need seeing-eye dogs.

Landlords are legally compelled to make reasonable accommodations for tenants with disabilities. This includes allowing them to keep service animals in their rental units.

If you're a rental company in Texas, what do you need to know about seeing eye dogs? Read on to learn more.

The Basics of Seeing-Eye Dogs

Seeing-eye dogs are considered service animals under the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Fair Housing Act. Therefore, they are not considered pets and are exempt from pet-related fees and restrictions.

Landlords are required to allow tenants who require them to keep seeing eye dogs in their rental units, even if the rental agreement prohibits pets.

Landlords are allowed to ask tenants with disabilities to provide documentation that the animal is a service animal and is necessary for the tenant's disability. However, landlords cannot ask for information about the tenant's disability or require that the animal demonstrate its abilities.

The Rules Surrounding Seeing-Eye Dogs

Landlords are responsible for ensuring that seeing eye dogs do not cause damage to the rental unit or pose a threat to other tenants. If the dog does cause damage, the landlord can charge that tenant for the cost of repairs.

Landlords cannot discriminate against tenants with disabilities who use seeing-eye dogs or other service animals. Discrimination can include refusing to rent to tenants with service animals, requiring them to pay additional fees, or harassing them about the animal.

Landlords cannot charge pet fees or deposits for seeing eye dogs, as they are not considered pets. Service animals must be controlled by their owners and well-behaved at all times. If a seeing-eye dog causes damage or poses a threat to others, the owner may be held liable.

If a landlord, business, or individual violates the laws protecting service animals, they can face legal penalties, including fines and lawsuits.

Other Types of Service Animals

Seeing-eye dogs aren't the only type of service animals out there. Other animals are subject to different regulations.

Most animals classified as service animals are entitled to the same protections as seeing-eye dogs.

People may also have emotional support animals. In Texas, ESAs are not legally considered service animals and are not given the same legal protections as service animals.

However, individuals with disabilities who require an ESA may have the right to keep their animals with them in their homes. This is true even if the landlord has an anti-pets policy.

Some people may also have therapy animals. In Texas, therapy animals are animals that are trained to provide emotional support. They're often used in hospice settings, for example.

Unlike service animals, therapy animals are not trained to perform specific tasks, and they do not have the same protections as service animals do under the ADA.

Seeing-Eye Dogs in Texas: Now You Know

There's a lot to navigate for landlords when it comes to seeing eye dogs in Texas.

Do you need more property management help in Texas? We've got you covered. Contact Terra Residential Services today.