Companion dog wording
Click here for Top Ten Discussions. CLICK HERE for Q & A Homepage
Receive Free Rental Owner Updates Email:  
MrLandlord Q & A
     
     
Companion dog wording (by Cat [WI]) Mar 24, 2019 8:47 PM
       Companion dog wording (by JB [OR]) Mar 24, 2019 9:22 PM
       Companion dog wording (by Vee [OH]) Mar 24, 2019 9:30 PM
       Companion dog wording (by Jim In O C [CA]) Mar 24, 2019 9:46 PM
       Companion dog wording (by Vee [OH]) Mar 24, 2019 10:06 PM
       Companion dog wording (by Vee [OH]) Mar 24, 2019 10:06 PM
       Companion dog wording (by WMH [NC]) Mar 25, 2019 3:11 AM
       Companion dog wording (by JKJ [MA]) Mar 25, 2019 5:25 AM
       Companion dog wording (by S i d [MO]) Mar 25, 2019 5:26 AM
       Companion dog wording (by Cat [WI]) Mar 25, 2019 6:51 AM
       Companion dog wording (by RathdrumGal [ID]) Mar 25, 2019 7:33 AM
       Companion dog wording (by John... [MI]) Mar 25, 2019 7:52 AM
       Companion dog wording (by Still Learning [NH]) Mar 25, 2019 9:04 AM
       Companion dog wording (by Barb [MO]) Mar 25, 2019 11:58 AM
       Companion dog wording (by John... [MI]) Mar 25, 2019 12:10 PM
       Companion dog wording (by CJ [MO]) Mar 25, 2019 12:41 PM
       Companion dog wording (by John... [MI]) Mar 25, 2019 2:01 PM
       Companion dog wording (by JKJ [MA]) Mar 25, 2019 2:56 PM
       Companion dog wording (by John... [MI]) Mar 25, 2019 3:07 PM
       Companion dog wording (by John... [MI]) Mar 25, 2019 3:17 PM
       Companion dog wording (by Kathy [OK]) Mar 25, 2019 3:26 PM
       Companion dog wording (by Barb [MO]) Mar 25, 2019 3:27 PM
       Companion dog wording (by Barb [MO]) Mar 25, 2019 3:30 PM
       Companion dog wording (by CJ [MO]) Mar 25, 2019 4:49 PM
       Companion dog wording (by CJ [MO]) Mar 25, 2019 4:50 PM
       Companion dog wording (by CJ [MO]) Mar 25, 2019 4:50 PM
       Companion dog wording (by John... [MI]) Mar 25, 2019 5:23 PM
       Companion dog wording (by CJ [MO]) Mar 25, 2019 5:27 PM
       Companion dog wording (by CJ [MO]) Mar 25, 2019 5:29 PM
       Companion dog wording (by Cat [WI]) Mar 25, 2019 5:46 PM
       Companion dog wording (by JB [OR]) Mar 25, 2019 6:03 PM
       Companion dog wording (by JB [OR]) Mar 25, 2019 6:09 PM
       Companion dog wording (by Barb [MO]) Mar 25, 2019 7:34 PM
       Companion dog wording (by JB [OR]) Mar 25, 2019 8:34 PM


Companion dog wording (by Cat [WI]) Posted on: Mar 24, 2019 8:47 PM
Message:

Hi all. Have not been here for awhile but had a quick question. Not sure if important but I am in Wisconsin.

I have an existing tenant who has been told supposedly by her doctor (I have the dr note) that she should get a companion/therapy dog for her depression. The doctor says she should be allowed a small dog not to exceed 40 pounds which to me, is a medium size dog.

I want to add an addendum to her lease since normally dogs are not allowed. I know that therapy, etc animals are not considered pets but I want to word the addendum correctly. I hate being forced by tenants and laws to allow dogs when someone could get bit or there could be a huge barking issue, etc. When I used to allow dogs many years ago, carpets were ruined and there were damages from them.

What wording do you have, when having tenants with therapy type animals, to lay out the responsibility of the tenant to control the animal such as they are responsible to keep the animal under control, responsible if anyone gets injured by the animal, and it can't be barking and disturbing other tenants or causing damages. I want to be sure everything is in there that I may need to keep some kind of control. I do not know what kind of dog she is getting but she said it would be in April.

What do you say to other tenants in the building, when they wanted a dog and was told no and now this person has one. I know you can't disclose anything about the tenant or would be violating their privacy. Puts me in a bad position, through no fault of my own.

Any tips, feedback, etc appreciated. I just want to be sure I include everything I can, to protect my self and not lose tenants over barking, etc. Thanks in advance.

--50.105.xxx.xxx




Companion dog wording (by JB [OR]) Posted on: Mar 24, 2019 9:22 PM
Message:

This sounds like a note she wrote or specifically asked the doctor to write. "...she should get a companion/therapy dog for her depression" does not sound like something I would expect a doctor to just recommend for depression without the patient requesting it.

Of course that doesn't mean you get to ignore it. If I was you I would try to contact that doctor to confirm (not sure what he will disclose).

You don't have to put up with anything like barking and disturbing the other tenants, unchecked defecation, etc. And you can ask that they provide proof of renter's insurance, full documentation regarding vet records, immunization records, etc. You of course also hold the tenant responsible for all damage done by the animal. You can request regular inspections and charge for damages within the next month.

This tenant is likely just trying to find a way to get an animal that you have disallowed. Remember that when it comes to cutting any slack to her and don't be afraid to raise rents whenever you feel it necessary. --24.20.xxx.xxx




Companion dog wording (by Vee [OH]) Posted on: Mar 24, 2019 9:30 PM
Message:

Asking photo vet records is standard nowadays, he sure the letter is an in state doctor, not an internet sensation that is slowing down since many areas have now made false medical documents a felony, if the prescribing letter says therapy then it is a game because therapy animals are someone's pet that they take to a nursing home for other people's therapy and presumably that would not be allowed in your place.

--76.188.xxx.x




Companion dog wording (by Jim In O C [CA]) Posted on: Mar 24, 2019 9:46 PM
Message:

Search emotional support animals or assistance animals . In the last couple weeks another landlord posted some great information about this subject. He gave the contact information of a lawyer who has some wonderful forms regarding ESAís. --99.23.xxx.x




Companion dog wording (by Vee [OH]) Posted on: Mar 24, 2019 10:06 PM
Message:

Scott law firm, Columbia NO - Google for the website, but I can not get a clean print of the pdf there

--76.188.xxx.x




Companion dog wording (by Vee [OH]) Posted on: Mar 24, 2019 10:06 PM
Message:

Scott law firm, Columbia NO - Google for the website, but I can not get a clean print of the pdf there

--76.188.xxx.x




Companion dog wording (by WMH [NC]) Posted on: Mar 25, 2019 3:11 AM
Message:

Any doctor "prescribing" a dog should know the terminology, which is an Emotional Support Animal not a therapy or companion dog. And to set a weight limit is laughable, that is clearly the tenant's idea to make it more acceptable to you. --50.82.xxx.xx




Companion dog wording (by JKJ [MA]) Posted on: Mar 25, 2019 5:25 AM
Message:

Cat, To me this sounds like the tenant is just trying to get around your no pet policy. I have a cousin thatís child needs a emotional support animal, he is in the autism spectrum. The letter they have is for airline travel but she tells me it would be virtually identical to a letter for housing. Itís not just a note from a dr saying ďJane Doe needs a small dog, under 40 pounds for emotional assistanceĒ thatís your first red flag. First off itís a proper letter on the medical professionals legal letter head, itís dated and must be renewed annually, it must be from a licensed psychologist/psychiatrist. The letter should name the patient, the medical disorder they suffer from, the limitations the disorder causes, and the symptoms that the emotional support animal will help alleviate. Basically speaking the tenant has the burden of providing proof that they 1) have a disability, 2) they are being treated by a licensed psychologist/psychiatrist 3) the animal will lessen the effects of the disability. 4) the animal helps with day to day functions of life. You CANNOT ask them to go into specifics details regarding their disability but you CAN require they prove they have a disability. The animal does not require any special training to be an emotional support animal, but with that said the animal still must be kept under control. Just because they have the proper letter doesnít mean the animal can damage the house, disturbing other tenants, or leave ďwasteĒ in the yard. This is strictly my opinion but I feel that any person that actually requires an emotional support animal would have all the proper letters etc prior to approaching their landlord also I believe that if a licensed Dr specializing in mental disorders really thought you would benefit from an emotional support animal he would know what is required and provide all nessacary documentation. If I needed an emotional support animal for myself or my daughter I would make sure everything I needed was in order and then present that with my request to my landlord. I donít have all the details about your situation with this tenant but it sounds as if she handed you just a note from a Dr in an attempt to get a dog. --71.248.xxx.xxx




Companion dog wording (by S i d [MO]) Posted on: Mar 25, 2019 5:26 AM
Message:

Careful...

Depending on what kind of animal this is--service, therapy, or ESA--determines what you can and can't ask.

Is the note you received written on office stationary with contact info? I believe you are allowed to contact the medical provider to verify that the note is legit.

There's no need to add anything to your lease. Federal and to some extent state laws will trump anything you put in there anyway. Tenants are still responsible for any damages and/or barking issues caused by their animals, regardless of their status as a prescribed medical aid. If you have damage or disturbance issues, you can still evict and bill for damages as normal.

Good luck!

--173.20.xxx.xxx




Companion dog wording (by Cat [WI]) Posted on: Mar 25, 2019 6:51 AM
Message:

I did check out the name and company. She is a real family medicine doctor in a real clinic but does not appear to specialize in mental issues, since my tenant claims depression.

I do have issues with the wording of her letter.

It says The above named patient (her name is above in the letter) and is being treated by me. I capitalized the words I am having an issue with, the way they are stated.

I am writing today in regards to the patient having the ability to have a PET, specifically a small dog that is under 40 pounds, in her home for COMPANIONSHIP. I feel that this will help the patient cope and heal.

Then she tells me to contact her with any questions.

In my state you can only ask if the person has a disability and how the animal would help with the disability. Since she has already told me that info, I can't really ask anything else.

I wanted to add an addendum with the companion animal which is allowed in my state (and I think the law is so ridiculous, as most people who have pets have them for companionship). This tenant is also on Section 8 HUD program and is a senior. I have to be careful to stay within the law. Just to clarify, I have several tenants on that program and they are all good tenants and some very long term (17 yrs, 15 yrs, 13 yrs, etc), so getting assistance is not the issue. I know some landlords detest allowing Section 8 tenants.

I just want the wording to be correct as far as what she is responsible for, so she knows, before she even gets the dog, what she needs to do and not do and if the dog causes issues, it is gone. I like to have wording to keep from having any issues, so if tenants mess up and we end up in court, I can show that they agreed to those terms.

Thank you all for your advice, tips, etc. Specific wording that you have for pets would even work and I could edit/change it for my specific case, leaving out the word pet. Just a reminder that she is already a tenant and has just gotten on Section 8, before she mentioned the dog so she is locked into a new lease with both HUD and myself for almost a year yet. --50.105.xxx.xxx




Companion dog wording (by RathdrumGal [ID]) Posted on: Mar 25, 2019 7:33 AM
Message:

The Idaho Apartment Association recommends that every LL have an ANIMAL policy -- not a pet policy. While you cannot charge extra, you can have rules about vet records, insurance, damage inspections, length of time animal can be left alone, cleaning up after animals, crating, etc. I developed my animal policy by Google. I found an animal policy published by a University (evidently the dorms have also been hit by the ESA craze) and modifying it to suit my needs. --98.146.xxx.xxx




Companion dog wording (by John... [MI]) Posted on: Mar 25, 2019 7:52 AM
Message:

To answer your original question... I do not add anything to my lease for Service or Emotional Support Animals. My standard lease says that the tenant is responsible for any damage. I do not need anything added to that since nothing changes with said animal. Damage is damage -- if the animal does it or not.

I would probably TELL them what I expect -- where the dog needs to poop and such -- where she needs to dispose of it -- and so on. But I otherwise don't feel the need to spell it out in my lease when it comes to non-pets like this.

- John...

--24.180.xxx.xxx




Companion dog wording (by Still Learning [NH]) Posted on: Mar 25, 2019 9:04 AM
Message:

So the doctor used the words: pet and companionship? I do not have experience here, but it seems that the doctor is asking permission for tenant to have a pet. I understand the unwritten meaning to be emotional support animal but if HUD states ESA is not a pet, then can you deny since she is asking for a pet? Would that force her to go to a psychological doctor and be under care to ask for an ESA? Of course this could backfire if implied meaning is good enough. --24.61.xxx.xx




Companion dog wording (by Barb [MO]) Posted on: Mar 25, 2019 11:58 AM
Message:

Strange. So the Dr didn't write it for an ESA.

This is a building with a no pet policy? I would develop an animal policy, and make sure to list charges, $10 for any fecal piles not cleaned up in the yard, actual damages for damage inside, etc.

I wonder what is really going on? A person is supposed to be disabled to qualify for an ESA. --131.151.xx.xx




Companion dog wording (by John... [MI]) Posted on: Mar 25, 2019 12:10 PM
Message:

My guess is that it is a normal family MD that doesn't have much experience with this sort of thing, so wrote what was asked.

In cases like this, I tend to have a little packet that I give to them that explains what is needed for an ESA -- which is a letter from a healthcare provider that states that the person has a disability (but not what it is, of course) and that the animal helps to mitigate that disability or is necessary to allow them to have the same opportunity to use the housing.

My actual wording is something like this: "The applicant must provide written verification that they have a disability and that the accommodation is necessary to give the tenant equal opportunity to use and enjoy the community. The applicant should obtain a signed letter on professional letterhead from his or her own healthcare or mental health provider and that provider must answering the following questions: 1) Is the person disabled as defined by the Fair Housing laws? and 2) In the healthcare providerís professional opinion, does the person need the requested use of the animal to have the same opportunity as a non-disabled person to use and enjoy the housing community?"

My guess is that if you asked this person for that, they'd go back to their MD and their MD would say that they couldn't provide it. As it is right now, I think it is a real MD that just doesn't realize what is involved with a proper ESA letter.

- John...

--24.180.xxx.xxx




Companion dog wording (by CJ [MO]) Posted on: Mar 25, 2019 12:41 PM
Message:

Do they have to be disabled to have ESA? I thought tye do not need to be disabled. Am I wrong? --97.91.xxx.xxx




Companion dog wording (by John... [MI]) Posted on: Mar 25, 2019 2:01 PM
Message:

Yes, you are wrong.

The have to have a disability of some sort to have an ESA. The problem is that it is fairly easy to get some doctor to say that someone has a "disability" related to some hard-to-dispute mental condition (depression, anxiety, and so on).

- John...

--24.180.xxx.xxx




Companion dog wording (by JKJ [MA]) Posted on: Mar 25, 2019 2:56 PM
Message:

Cat, Iím not an expert but my understanding of the laws regarding emotional support animals are the Dr must be a specialist in mental health I.E. psychologist/psychiatrist, the letter must be dated and renewed annually, it should state the disability, the symptoms the disability causes that interfer with day to day functions of life that the animal with help with. Some have chosen to accept letters from primary care DRís but are not required to. I said it before this sounds to me like a person that wants a dog and asked the primary care DR to give them a letter to get around your pet policy. Tell her you need the proper letter from a licensed mental health professional that she is currently under the care of, and let her know that she will need to submit a new dated letter annually. Even if she gets a shrink to write her a letter that doesnít mean itís for the life of the pet, peoples issues improve, hence the reason it must be renewed annually. You might find she decides she doesnít really need 1 after all. Google it yourself and youíll see that letter as you relayed it doesnít meet the ADA requirements for an ďemotional support animalĒ --71.248.xxx.xxx




Companion dog wording (by John... [MI]) Posted on: Mar 25, 2019 3:07 PM
Message:

JKJ: Your understanding is mistaken. The FHAA is actually vague on the topic and absolutely does not specify that it must be a mental health specialist. Further guidance has only used the term "health professional" as far as I can tell. Therefore, restricting only to "a specialist in mental health" is likely a violation.

Also, it does not specify how often things need to be "renewed." Again, some guidance has indicated that OPTIONALLY requiring re-verification annually is allowable, but not required.

And, you are absolutely incorrect that it "should state the disability." The law actually states that opposite: that it should NOT state the disability itself and that it is illegal to ASK what it is. If the disability is not "obvious", then you may ask that the letter confirm that the applicant IS DISABLED, but you cannot ask the disability and the letter cannot be required to state what it is.

Sorry, but most of what you have written as your understanding of the laws regarding ESAs ranges from inaccurate to completely illegal and in violation of the law. Please be careful.

- John...

--24.180.xxx.xxx




Companion dog wording (by John... [MI]) Posted on: Mar 25, 2019 3:17 PM
Message:

To provide sourcing on that, it is FHEO Notice FHEO-2013-01 that specifies who may provide the documentation: "a physician, psychiatrist, social worker, or other mental

health professional." Note that "a physician" and even "a social worker" is in that list. There is no requirement that it be a "specialist in mental health."

As for the part about asking regarding a disability, the same FHEO Notice states: "Housing providers may ask individuals who have disabilities that are not readily apparent or known to the provider to submit reliable documentation of a disability and their disability-related need for an assistance animal."

Again, some may imply that means that they can ask what the disability IS, but they have clarified that that is not the intent. The documentation simply needs to state that they have a disability and a disability-related need for the assistance animal -- which generally comes in the form of some sort of statement that having the animal "alleviates one or more of the identified symptoms or effects of an existing disability." Which, again, is pretty easy for someone to state when it comes to something like depression or anxiety.

- John...

--24.180.xxx.xxx




Companion dog wording (by Kathy [OK]) Posted on: Mar 25, 2019 3:26 PM
Message:

I recently had an applicant who has an "emotional support" animal - a 100-pound pig that she keeps inside the house. Thankfully, she had so many other issues that disqualified her. Oklahoma did recently pass a law that a landlord cannot be held responsible for the bite or attack of an animal that a tenant has declared an "emotional support animal". So at least we have that going for us. --104.15.xx.xxx




Companion dog wording (by Barb [MO]) Posted on: Mar 25, 2019 3:27 PM
Message:

The ACAA (air carrier access act) has specifications that the FHA does not. It does require a document under 12 months old, while the FHA does not. The FHA is actually silent on the matter.

Since the ACAA specifies, we can interpolate that we can request a letter each year.

We CAN ask that the letter state the patient is being treated by the provider (either medical or mental health), that the letter states the individual has a disability (if not physical that they have a mental health disability as diagnosed by the DSM, and the DSM-V from 2013 does list anxiety as causing disability), and that the animal is needed to assist with mitigating the disability.

We can also require that the letter be on letterhead, and list the license number of the provider.

It is slippery. I am waiting for the day things are more specified. --131.151.xx.xx




Companion dog wording (by Barb [MO]) Posted on: Mar 25, 2019 3:30 PM
Message:

The Social Worker is listed because they ARE mental health providers in many instances.

I know a number of people with a MSW who are licensed mental health providers. It all depends on the social worker. Some assist people with getting services, other with their mental health. --131.151.xx.xx




Companion dog wording (by CJ [MO]) Posted on: Mar 25, 2019 4:49 PM
Message:

Does the doctor has to treat the disability, or just write a letter requested by the tenants?

Is the disability has to be treated by doctor or just need an animal for the disability? --97.91.xxx.xxx




Companion dog wording (by CJ [MO]) Posted on: Mar 25, 2019 4:50 PM
Message:

Does the doctor has to treat the disability, or just write a letter requested by the tenants?

Is the disability has to be treated by doctor or just need an animal for the disability? --97.91.xxx.xxx




Companion dog wording (by CJ [MO]) Posted on: Mar 25, 2019 4:50 PM
Message:

Does the doctor has to treat the disability, or just write a letter requested by the tenants?

Is the disability has to be treated by doctor or just need an animal for the disability? --97.91.xxx.xxx




Companion dog wording (by John... [MI]) Posted on: Mar 25, 2019 5:23 PM
Message:

There is nothing in the law about ongoing treatment that I have seen.

You keep asking for more and it just isn't there. We've told you repeatedly what you can require: a note from a healthcare professional stating that they have a disability and the animal helps to mitigate that in some way. That's it.

- John...

--96.40.xx.xx




Companion dog wording (by CJ [MO]) Posted on: Mar 25, 2019 5:27 PM
Message:

Does the disability has to be treated by the doctor or just give ESA letter requested by the prospect? --97.91.xxx.xxx




Companion dog wording (by CJ [MO]) Posted on: Mar 25, 2019 5:29 PM
Message:

Sorry, I did not know I posted too many times. --97.91.xxx.xxx




Companion dog wording (by Cat [WI]) Posted on: Mar 25, 2019 5:46 PM
Message:

John you are correct from the info I have been given. She has stated that she has depression and was told by her doctor that a dog would probably help with the depression. Then the doctor stated in the letter, that it is to help her cope and heal.

I don't think I have a choice here but to take the animal without costing me a substantial amount of money, either way. She has been a good tenant and actually probably made the place a little better than when she rented it. I have concerns that if she doesn't get the dog, she will move and it took me 8 months to rent the last unit I had for rent, which was much larger. The tenant pool here is terrible. 90% of interested prospects have unacceptable backgrounds/rental histories. Add to that, the housing authority which has always been awesome to work with, but i don't want to get on their radar if I say no and she complains. I have asked all I can ask without walking a fine line. --50.105.xxx.xx




Companion dog wording (by JB [OR]) Posted on: Mar 25, 2019 6:03 PM
Message:

Barb writes, "The Social Worker is listed because they ARE mental health providers in many instances. "

This is a very broad interpretation as it doesn't state that the social worker be some type of "mental health provider" in the precise wording that John pointed out. Not to mention that it could be any type of physician apparently with no regard for any expertise regarding the request.

If the laws spelled those people have some minimum level of expertise in diagnosing a particular need like that then that would be different. I find that especially disturbing. --24.20.xxx.xxx




Companion dog wording (by JB [OR]) Posted on: Mar 25, 2019 6:09 PM
Message:

Cat you wrote, "90% of interested prospects have unacceptable backgrounds/rental histories." We all pretty much are finding this to be the case. That is why we pre-screen, to help weed out those bad apples. --24.20.xxx.xxx




Companion dog wording (by Barb [MO]) Posted on: Mar 25, 2019 7:34 PM
Message:

JB, what is your point?

Social workers are often part of the mental health team. Yes, the family Dr can write an ESA letter. Some will, some will not.

We all wish the law was more clear. It is not.

I'm now building my pet rent into the regular rent. So many of my prospects have a dog or cat, it is amazing! On the other hand, if the animal is well cared for, and the home is well cared for, it goes well. --64.251.xxx.xxx




Companion dog wording (by JB [OR]) Posted on: Mar 25, 2019 8:34 PM
Message:

My point is that anyone can fall into the category of social worker. So what? It certainly should not make them an expert on what someone may or may not need. The same goes for any old physician. --24.20.xxx.xxx





Reply:
Subject: RE: Companion dog wording
Your Name:
Your State:

Message:
Companion dog wording
Would you like to be notified via email when somebody replies to this thread?
If so, you must include your valid email address here. Do not add your address more than once per thread/subject. By entering your email address here, you agree to receive notification from Mrlandlord.com every time anyone replies to "this" thread. You will receive response notifications for up to one week following the original post. Your email address will not be visible to readers.
Email Address: