From Florida Realtors: A condo doesn’t allow pets – what about service animals?

Florida Realtors recently answered a question that may be on your mind if you own rental properties.

Question: Our condo is designated pet-free in our community documents. I am about to rent and want to keep the apartment in good shape. If I include a no-pets clause in the lease, am I still forced to accept emotional support or service animals? – Jane

Answer: Yes. Service and emotional support animals are not pets, so restrictions that apply to pets do not apply to them.

Emotional support animals are companion animals that provide therapeutic benefits for people with psychiatric or mental disabilities. These animals do not have to be trained, unlike service animals that are trained individually to perform specific tasks to help a person who is disabled. You do have the right to confirm that the animal is genuine and your prospective tenant is not trying to outsmart you. However, it is essential to remember that you should not discriminate against someone with one of these animals any more than someone with, for example, a wheelchair.

It is understandable that you want to keep your apartment in good repair, but sometimes you have to adjust your expectations to allow everybody to be treated fairly.