Emotional Support Animal Series Part 4 - Legal

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-- Many people want or have an emotional support animal but they may not know what their rights are. Although not allowed in all public places, support animals are allowed on airplanes and pet free housing. But some landlords aren't so willing to allow support animals into their apartments.

"I'm going to be making some phone calls," said landlord Eva Kirk.

"If a landlord and a tenant have a dispute as whether the animal should be permitted then it comes down to what the law is and the facts are," explained lawyer Frank Bemis.

The law includes that Even if a landlord has a no pet policy, they are required to make accommodations to allow pets who serve as support animals as long as the following does not apply.

"You have to look and see if the rental establishment fits under the fair housing act in the first place. For instance if it's a single family unit without a broker it may not apply. Or if it's a landlord occupied apartment consisting of four apartments one including the owner then it may may not apply," explained Bemis.

But It is important for emotional support animal owners to recognize their legal rights and responsibilities

"If the fair housing act does apply and a tenant still is aggrieved by the landlord's decision you can file a housing and urban development complaint or you could file some sort of action in court," said Bemis.

However, landlords can consider the costs and look at the prior history of the support animal to determine if they will allow the animal into their housing units.

"If there's going to be some large administrative expense, financial expense to the landlord that can be shown, or this particular animal poses a danger to other tenants or other people in that apartment complex then the landlord could prohibit it on that basis," said Bemis.

Landlords could also prohibit a support animal based on their insurance

"The animals involved that could affect the landlords insurance, they could say that's a financial burden on the landlord to have that dog in the home because of the grater insurance risk or it could even cancel their insurance, I think that would be sufficient to prohibit it as well," said Bemis.

If they have an animal on premise that has a tendancy to be aggressive or has a previous history of a dog bite, most likely the insurance carrier is not going to want to provide coverage," said Commercial Lives Account Manager Wanda Guiggey.

If those circumstances do not apply and the landlord still refuses to allow your emotional support animal in the apartment, then you can take action by seeking the appropriate help to resolve the situation.

Emotional support animals don't have to be just dogs. Friday evenign we take a look at other options people are using.