Pets vs. Service Animals vs. Assistance Animals.
People with real estate training may recall that “service animals” are dogs trained to do work for a person with a disability. That is still true, but an “assistance animal” can include much more. Assistance animals are recognized by HUD, and may assist with a disability related need that is not observable, including “emotional support”.
As a housing provider, sometimes pets are not allowed. Service animals and assistance animals must be allowed, without any additional charges. Be very careful about asking questions. You do not need to get into the weeds on this. The solution is easy.
First, any certificate somebody may provide stating their animal is somehow "certified" is worthless. There are sites all over the internet that will provide this for a fee. The accommodation is defined by medical necessity, not the animal’s credentials. You need to have a policy for how you will handle this.
This is the easy way to handle this (not a paid endorsement). Utilize petscreening.com. If it is a pet, they will gather the information on the pet and charge a nominal fee to the pet owner. If it is a service or assistance animal, there is no fee. They have a HIPAA compliant process in determining medical necessity and will advise with a recommendation. They will set up a professional account for you for free. This is what a professional site looks like: https://thekeytorentals.petscreening.com/. It is important to not ask questions about health that could be private. Have a policy and be consistent with it.
Originally published at thekeytorentals.com