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CalAttorney2
CalAttorney2, Attorney
Category: Legal
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Experience:  Civil litigation attorney for individuals and businesses.
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Can a renter who is in violation of their allotted number of

Customer Question

can a renter who is in violation of their allotted number of pets, decide to make two of the pets service animals to get around the violation
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  CalAttorney2 replied 1 year ago.
Dealing with service animals is a tricky issue.While a lot of tenants abuse the service animal laws by simply calling their house pet a "service animal" - diluting the protection for those who genuinely need it - it makes for a difficult enforcement issue for landlords.In your case however, the tenant is not just asking for "reasonable accommodation" to have a service animal, but asking for additional pets to be in the household so that they can exceed the number of pets permitted by the lease. The "reasonable accommodation" standard is somewhat ubiquitous in that there is no hard and fixed standard - and while it is possible for a tenant to argue that they may be entitled to a second animal if the lease only allows one, when the tenant starts adding on multiple animals above and beyond the pet limit (especially when these animals were formerly their family pets), the landlord is in a better position to either enforce the lease terms by lease termination/eviction, or by changing the lease terms to require payment.The two questions you can ask of your tenant to support a service dog are: (1) is the individual handicapped? (2) does the dog perform a service to assist with that disability. You cannot ask for any further information/require any further deposit or insurance for a service animal. (See: http://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/HUD?src=/states/shared/working/r10/fh/questions in brief).

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