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Pet fee charged for visiting emotional support animal

Discussion in 'Other Residential Landlord & Tenant Issues' started by Nessa, Sep 11, 2019.

  1. Nessa

    Nessa Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Jurisdiction:
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    Hi my boyfriend rents a place and I come see him very often, I have an emotional support animal and also have the doctors letter to confirm that my dog is an emotional support animal, I didn't get this letter online like some people do, I actually do have medical issues.

    the property manager where he lives decided that to charge him a pet fee of $250 even though I'm not on the lease just because I visit his place and bring my 6lb dog.
    She told him he could get evicted due to the dog coming over because on his lease it says pets are not allowed unless you pay a pet fee, the manager said that was the law. He emailed and asked her if she was going to return the pet fee since the lease will be over the end of this month and she clearly said no that the pet deposit will not be refunded.

    From what I understand an emotional support animal is not considered a pet, plus he belongs to me not my boyfriend, my dog has not caused any damages, and they still have his $300 security deposit in any case I never heard of a tenant being charged a pet fee for a visiting dog. Especially one that is considered an emotional support animal

    Another issue is that the $300 security deposit which the property manager told him that most likely he won't get if they have to paint the place, the apartment is in excellent condition, their are no carpets only tile, and there is no damage anywhere in the place.

    but I read the apartment reviews online people saying that that management likes to keep people's security deposits because it's only $300 people don't fight it, but from what I understand normal wear and tear is not a reason to lose your deposit. I don't know where to report these people but they are abusing the law.
     
  2. Zigner

    Zigner Well-Known Member

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    You received great answers on the other forum where you posted this. Many (but not all) of the same people volunteer on this forum as well.
     
  3. cbg

    cbg Super Moderator

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    Your boyfriend may or may not be entitled to have an emotional support animal of his own on the premises. You do not live there; you are not on the lease; you are not so entitled.
     
  4. mightymoose

    mightymoose Moderator

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    The dog could have been left outdoors, or you could have left it elsewhere while visiting. If you are visiting for long periods of time with the dog indoors I can see why they would collect the pet fee. Very often pet fees are not refundable like cleaning deposits. They are separate. The lease papers should make clear whether a refund may be due or not.
    Regardless, until he actually moves out, cleans, and surrenders the apartment he is unlikely to get any promise of any refund. They need to inspect the property and determine what work may need to be done.

    Florida may have a unique law, but typically emotional support animals are not at all the same as service animals and don't have the same exemptions.
     
  5. PayrollHRGuy

    PayrollHRGuy Active Member

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    Florida doesn't have such a law, in fact, the legislature there is mulling laws to specifically protect against suits relating to them.
     
  6. mightymoose

    mightymoose Moderator

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    I saw that there is a law to allow renters to have emo pets live where they are otherwise not allowed, but that was it . No special protection be on their own residence.
     
  7. Michael Wechsler

    Michael Wechsler Administrator Staff Member

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    The Fair Housing Act may only provide relief for renters and the law may not apply to guests. There appears to be little relevant case law that is directly on point and the only reference I saw regarding guests after quickly perusing on the subject is a consent decree in U.S. v. DeAngeli, Case No. 3:11-CV-00796-RCJ-WGC (July 8. 2013).

    I doubt that there is a law prohibiting emotional support animals or pets and probably it is private policy made by the landlord.

    As to what is considered a "pet" - an emotional assistance animal may not considered a pet under the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) (Service Animals and Emotional Support Animals) and the Fair Housing Act follows this approach. You may want to review the Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Assistance Animals FAQ. I have noticed that, while perusing, there are limitations under the ADA and HUD based upon certain circumstances about what types of animals get this protection and, second, who is protected by HUD law (tenants explicitly, not sure of guests.) You'll want to take a closer look at this if you're intending to cite the law.

    As to the issue of returns of deposits. That is always a problem and there are some remedies (such as additional damages in some jurisdictions) which you are issues should you have those problems. One can also wonder whether the landlord will ultimately charge the tenant for washing or replacement of the carpet due to pet odors or other signs of presence.

    Perhaps you can negotiate with the landlord or the management company. But be clear of what you're representing before you do.
     

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