Your word as a property owner is usually final when deciding whether to allow pets in your rental. Refusing to allow certain assistance animals on your property, on the other hand, may result in severe legal consequences. Understanding the implications of renting fairly to all tenants will help landlords understand the implications of different types of service animals and their legal rights. Several real estate projects in Lahore do not have strict restrictions for allowing pets!

Service dogs, therapy dogs, and emotional support animals are three of the most common types you will encounter:

  • Service dogs are trained to help their handlers with disabilities.
  • Therapy dogs provide comfort and affection to people who are vulnerable.
  • Through companionship, and emotional support animals provide therapeutic benefits to their handlers.

Difference between service dogs, therapy dogs, and emotional support dogs 

You may be legally required to comply if a tenant requests to appeal a no-pet policy or waive related restrictions. Animals that benefit from a person’s disability are granted legal rights under the legal act, which exempts them from public and private regulations.

Despite their critical responsibilities, these animals have distinct legal rights based on their official titles. Understanding the differences between the three allows you to better understand your and your tenant’s rights regarding pets in your rental property.

Service dogs 

Service dogs are “individually trained dogs that work or perform tasks for people with disabilities.” Among the responsibilities are:

  • Guiding the visually impaired
  • Providing assistance to the deaf
  • Dragging a wheelchair
  • Notifying a person who is having a seizure
  • calming a person experiencing an anxiety attack

They must be specifically trained to assist a specific handler. Second, the animal must be trained to perform a task that is directly related to the disability of its handler. A service dog assisting someone with diabetes, for example, will alert its handler if their blood sugar levels rise.

There are no official guidelines that define a dog as a legal service animal as long as it is well-kept, well-behaved, and has received training for its handler’s disability.

Therapy dogs

Therapy dogs are pets who live with their owners and volunteer to provide comfort, affection, and companionship to people in public places such as:

  • Hospitals
  • Institutions for mental health care
  • Homes for the elderly
  • Schools

Therapy dogs do not qualify as working animals. These companions, unlike service dogs, are not trained to assist a specific handler’s disability. A therapy dog socializes in public settings to share its loving nature with the community rather than working to monitor its handler’s health and safety. Examples include visiting a nursing home or providing emotional support to hospital patients. 

Emotional support dogs

Any animal that provides emotional support to a person while alleviating one or more symptoms or effects of their disability.” Although ESAs are not trained to perform specific tasks that assist people with disabilities, they can help their handlers by alleviating symptoms such as:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety/Phobias
  • Loneliness

An emotional support animal, unlike a service dog, is not trained to warn its owner of an impending panic or anxiety attack. Instead, their mere presence can alleviate symptoms of serious illnesses and psychological disorders.

How to prepare the rental property for a service animal?

Prepare for a service animal in your rental as you would for any other pet. Consider adding pet-friendly features to your apartment, such as laminate flooring, a fenced-in backyard, or scratch-resistant paint. While service animals are exempt from pet fees, your security deposit will help cover repair costs if there is excessive damage.

Be courteous and accommodating

Landlords should be respectful and accommodating in all situations. Investigate local laws to better understand your tenant’s rights and to offer assistance in making their living situation more comfortable. These steps will assist you in avoiding costly lawsuits and establishing a positive relationship with your renter.