Ronka asked in PetsOther - Pets · 1 decade ago

Do you have to pay a pet deposit at an apartment if it's a service animal?

I have a service dog and I'm am moving soon. Would I have to pay a pet deposit at an apartment for him?

11 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    A service dog is not legally a pet. They cannot charge you a pet deposit anymore than they could charge you an additional fee to use your cane or wheelchair in your apartment. However, they are allowed to charge you for any actual damage (beyond ordinary wear and tear) the service animal causes to the apartment.

    Here is some information about service animals and the Fair Housing Act from the FHCO (Remenber that the Fair Housing Act is Federal law and applies everywhere in the US):

    Commonly Asked Questions about Service Animals in Housing

    The federal Fair Housing Act (the "Act") prohibits discrimination in housing on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, familial status, and disability.

    The following is offered as background on what you should know about your rights and responsibilities with regard to this part of the law. If you have further questions or a specific situation, please call the Fair Housing Hotline at (503) 223-8197 or 1-800-424-3247 (TTY) (Se habla español) or HUD 1-800-877-0246.

    Unless otherwise referenced, the following information is taken from a Joint Statement by The Department of Justice ("DOJ") and the Department of Housing and Urban Development ("HUD") on Reasonable Accommodations Under the Fair Housing Act.

    What is a service animal?

    The ADA defines a service animal as any guide dog, signal dog, or other animal individually trained to provide assistance to an individual with a disability. If they meet this definition, animals are considered service animals under the ADA regardless of whether they have been licensed or certified by a state or local government.

    Service animals perform some of the functions and tasks that the individual with a disability cannot perform for him or herself. "Seeing eye dogs" are one type of service animal, used by some individuals who are blind. This is the type of service animal with which most people are familiar. But there are service animals that assist persons with other kinds of disabilities in their day-to-day activities. Some examples include:

    _ Alerting persons with hearing impairments to sounds.

    _ Pulling wheelchairs or carrying and picking up things for persons with mobility impairments.

    _ Assisting persons with mobility impairments with balance.

    A service animal is not a pet.

    Source: U.S. Department of Justice publication: Commonly Asked Questions About Service Animals in Places of Business,

    What is a "reasonable accommodation" for purposes of the Act?

    A “reasonable accommodation” is a change, exception, or adjustment to a rule, policy, practice, or service that may be necessary for a person with a disability to have an equal opportunity to use and enjoy a dwelling, including public and common use spaces. Since rules, policies, practices, and services may have a different effect on persons with disabilities than on other persons, treating persons with disabilities exactly the same as others will sometimes deny them an equal opportunity to use and enjoy a dwelling. The Act makes it unlawful to refuse to make reasonable accommodations to rules, policies, practices, or services when such accommodations may be necessary to afford persons with disabilities an equal opportunity to use and enjoy a dwelling.

    To show that a requested accommodation may be necessary, there must be an identifiable relationship, or nexus, between the requested accommodation and the individual’s disability.

    Example: A housing provider has a "no pets" policy. A tenant who is deaf requests that the provider allow him to keep a dog in his unit as a reasonable accommodation. The tenant explains that the dog is an assistance animal that will alert him to several sounds, including knocks at the door, sounding of the smoke detector, the telephone ringing, and cars coming into the driveway. The housing provider must make an exception to its “no pets” policy to accommodate this tenant.

    May a housing provider charge an extra fee or require an additional deposit from applicants or residents with disabilities as a condition of granting a reasonable accommodation?

    No. Housing providers may not require persons with disabilities to pay extra fees or deposits as a condition of receiving a reasonable accommodation.

    Example: Because of his disability, an applicant with a hearing impairment needs to keep an assistance animal in his unit as a reasonable accommodation. The housing provider may not require the applicant to pay a fee or a security deposit as a condition of allowing the applicant to keep the assistance animal. However, if a tenant's assistance animal causes damage to the applicant's unit or the common areas of the dwelling, the housing provider may charge the tenant for the cost of repairing the damage (or deduct it from the standard security deposit imposed on all tenants), if it is the provider's practice to assess tenants for any damage they cause to the premises.

    What kinds of information, if any, may a housing provider request from a person with an obvious or known disability who is requesting a reasonable accommodation ?

    A provider is entitled to obtain information that is necessary to evaluate if a requested reasonable accommodation may be necessary because of a disability. If a person’s disability is obvious, or otherwise known to the provider, and if the need for the requested accommodation is also readily apparent or known, then the provider may not request any additional information about the requester's disability or the disability-related need for the accommodation. If the requester's disability is known or readily apparent to the provider, but the need for the accommodation is not readily apparent or known, the provider may request only information that is necessary to evaluate the disability-related need for the accommodation.

    Example: A rental applicant who uses a wheelchair advises a housing provider that he wishes to keep an assistance dog in his unit even though the provider has a "no pets" policy. The applicant’s disability is readily apparent but the need for an assistance animal is not obvious to the provider. The housing provider may ask the applicant to provide information about the disability-related need for the dog.

    You should know that an animal may be considered a service animal, even in the absence of formal training and certification . For Fair Housing Law purposes, the terms “assistance animal,” “therapy animal,” “companion animal” are interchangeable and should never be considered a “pet” with applicable pet fees, etc.

    If you have questions, contact us at 800/877-0246 or

    For information about service animals in places of business visit:

  • Anonymous
    5 years ago

    Have you requested a reasonable accommodation to have the animal in the apartment? You should have submitted a request for reasonable accommodation in writing via certified mail and you should receive a response from the landlord IN WRITING. You doctor or healthcare professional should have also submitted documentation supporting your need for the service animal. Along with this documentation, submit information about FHAA and what it says regarding service animals. The pet deposit should be waived. If you already submitted a formal request for reasonable accommodations and this is a misunderstanding on their part, bring it to their attention. Be polite. Do not be confrontational. If you are unable to resolve the matter, file a complaint with HUD for discrimination. Do not pay the deposit. You'll likely never see it again if you do and the animal is not a pet. Be sure to document everything, get names, etc and leave a paper trail. Email correspondence counts as a paper trail. I would bring it to their attention by saying something like, "I think there was a misunderstanding. Perhaps you're unaware, but..."

  • 1 decade ago

    No, your service dog is not a pet. You should be able to move anywhere you want, even if the place says NO PETS..since your dog is used to provide a service for you. Don't limit yourself to pets only rentals, all landlords should accept a service dog if not, then it can be classified as disability discrimination.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Check with the company where you got the service dog. They know all the legality's with owning one. I think it is illegal for them to charge you. They can't charge you for having a disability. Also, I know for sure that nobody can turn you down even if there are no dogs allowed.

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  • 4 years ago

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Talk to the landlord. If he's a certified service dog and you have documentation of your disability, then they may waive the fee. I have never heard of a law requiring them to do so though.

    A pet deposit is insurance that if the animal causes damage, that it's covered. Since even a service animal can cause damage, they may still want you to pay the fee.

  • 4 years ago

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  • Anonymous
    6 years ago

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  • 1 decade ago

    Yes, I think so.

    It doesn't matter why the animal is there in their eyes. The pet deposit is in case the pet craps all over the floor and they have to replace the carpet. An animal is an animal.

    It sucks, but usually management doesn't care. They just want money.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    You shouldn't have to pay a pet deposit but there is nothing forcing them not to charge you. It would just be crappy if they did charge you.

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