Assistance animals qualify as one of the more complicated topics in rental housing. Operators constantly wrestle with the distinctions between service and support animals, what qualifies as legitimate documentation and how to most efficiently manage their verification processes.
Residents bring three types of animals to apartment communities, and each has a different connotation for onsite teams.
In a new article published on the Student Housing Business website, PetScreening.com Founder John Ray Bradford discusses Service Animals vs. Assistance Animals and covers when and where the American with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Fair Housing Act (FHAct) are applicable.
If you’re like most people, you probably use the terms service animal and assistance animal interchangeably especially when discussing the recent media coverage about the person with an emotional support alligator or the peacock trying to board an airplane. If you’re a multifamily professional, not knowing the difference between these two terms could result in costly and risky unintended consequences.
To help prevent such a scenario from happening, you simply need to know the difference between a service animal and an assistance animal. More importantly, knowing when and how to deal with each one is imperative. Understanding the differences can help ensure you don’t ask an inappropriate question that could result in inadvertently discriminating against a person with a disability or help prevent a bad actor from committing animal fraud.
Topics: Assistance Animals
The following is a partial transcript from the PetScreening pawdcast, ep.3. To listen to the full episode, click here.
"Hi! It's John Bradford, pet lover and founder of PetScreening.com. Welcome to the PetScreening podcast. Today, I'm going to talk a little bit about insurance companies and their restrictions regarding pets, and how sometimes this is used as a reason to deny someone from bringing a specific breed into a property under their accommodation request. We're going to talk about why that is not a wise thing to do or why that is not a wise reason to use as to why you're denying an accommodation request.
Some insurance policies have specific pet breed restrictions and for a housing provider to unilaterally apply these restrictions to assistance animals is ill advised. Why? Assistance animals are not the same as household pets.