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Your Rights as a Renter with a Service Animal

Disabled Fort Worth Renter in Wheelchair with Service DogIf you are a Fort Worth renter and have a service or emotional support animal, knowing your rights is significant. Numerous renters are unaware that, notwithstanding the property owner’s rules, they may keep a service or emotional support animal in their rental homes. This blog post will discuss 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 those with disabilities. These obligations can include but are not limited to guiding people who are blind, notifying people who are deaf, pulling a wheelchair, informing and protecting a person who is having a seizure, or relaxing a person with post-traumatic stress disorder.

An emotional support animal does not need to be trained to perform a specific service to provide benefits to its owners. Several companion animals can qualify as emotional support animals as long as you possess a letter from your medical provider or therapist validating that you need the animal.

Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), service animals are legal 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 categorized 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.

If you have a service or emotional support animal, you are not supposed to pay any pet fees or deposits. But you may be held responsible for damages caused by your animal. For illustration, if your animal chews on furniture or urinates on the flooring, or if you forget to clean up the animal’s waste, you will be charged for those repairs. Before signing a lease, it is important to have a conversation with your property owner about your service or emotional support animal. This will effectively lessen misunderstandings about your rights and responsibilities as a renter.

Some landlords may request that you show proof of insurance for your service or emotional support animal. This is not ordered by law, but it is something you should be prepared to clarify with your Fort Worth property manager.

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

Imagine your landlord is planning to evict you (or refuses to rent to you) for having a service or emotional support animal. In that case, 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 bans 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 examine your complaint and take legal action against your landlord if they find that you have been discriminated against.

If you encounter eviction due to your service or emotional support animal, it is advisable to seek legal help as early as possible. An experienced attorney can help you know 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 contact 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 obtain more information on service and emotional support animals at the ADA National Network website. The ADA National Network is a resource of information and technical emotional support on the Americans with Disabilities Act.


Figuring out your privileges will help you and your service or emotional support animal to have a happy life in your rental home. But if your landlord is standing in the way of 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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