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Your Rights as a Renter with a Service Animal

Disabled Round Rock Renter in Wheelchair with Service DogIf you are a Round Rock renter and have a service or emotional support animal, you must understand your rights. Various renters are unaware that, regardless of the property owner’s rules, they can keep a service or emotional support animal in their rental homes. This blog post will examine the laws that protect renters who own service or emotional support animals. We will also provide tips on communicating with your property owner if there is an issue with keeping your service or emotional support animal in your home.

What is a service or emotional support animal, and what rights do you have under the law?

Service animals are defined as animals trained to perform tasks for people with disabilities. These tasks can include but are not limited to guiding people who are blind, alerting people who are deaf, pulling a wheelchair, alerting and protecting a person who is having a seizure, or calming a person with post-traumatic stress disorder.

An emotional support animal doesn’t have to be trained to perform a specific service to provide benefits to its owners. Various companion animals can qualify as emotional support animals if you obtain a letter from your medical provider or therapist that affirms you need the animal.

Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), service animals are permitted in public places, including rental homes. Emotional support animals are not protected under the ADA but are allowed in rental homes, even if a landlord has a “no pet” policy. Service and emotional support animals are not regarded as pets under the law, and therefore, property owners cannot charge pet fees or deposits for them.

How to handle deposits, fees, and other costs associated with having a service or emotional support animal.

You are not obliged to pay any pet fees or deposits if you have a service or emotional support animal. However, you may be held liable for damages caused by your animal. As an illustration, if your animal chews on furniture or urinates on the flooring, or if you refuse to clean up the animal’s waste, you will certainly be charged for those repairs. Before signing a lease, it is necessary to have a conversation with your property owner about your service or emotional support animal. This can help prevent misunderstandings about your rights and responsibilities as a renter.

Some landlords may want you to show proof of insurance for your service or emotional support animal. This is not required by law, but it is something you should be prepared to handle with your Round Rock property manager.

What to do if your landlord tries to evict you for having a service or emotional support animal.

Assume your landlord is attempting to evict you (or refuses to rent to you) for having a service or emotional support animal. In that event, you may have grounds to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The department’s Civil Rights Division enforces the Fair Housing Act, which prevents discrimination in housing based on disability.

You can also file a complaint with your state’s attorney general’s office or the human rights commission. These agencies can investigate your complaint and take legal action against your landlord if they conclude that you have been discriminated against.

If you are facing eviction due to your service or emotional support animal, you should seek legal help as fast as possible. An experienced attorney can assist you in understanding your rights and options under the law.

Resources for further information on renters’ rights and service or emotional support animals.

For more information on your rights as a renter, you can talk to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). HUD enforces the Fair Housing Act and can investigate complaints of discrimination in housing.

You can also find more information on service and emotional support animals at the ADA National Network website. The ADA National Network is a resource for information and technical emotional support on the Americans with Disabilities Act.


Knowing your rights will allow you and your service or emotional support animal to live happily in your rental property. But if your landlord is interfering with your rights, it might be time to move to a place managed by professionals who recognize and follow the law. Browse our listings for service animal-friendly rental homes in your area.

We are pledged to the letter and spirit of U.S. policy for the achievement of equal housing opportunity throughout the Nation. See Equal Housing Opportunity Statement for more information.

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