Allowing pets in a Southern Maryland rental property is often a debatable topic among rental property owners. Determining if you want to allow pets, what type of pets to allow, and what to charge for pet fees are just a few questions that may arise. But what happens when you choose not to allow pets and an applicant has a service animal? What if that service animal is considered an “aggressive breed” or on a restrictive breed list for your community? This is a valid questions especially in Maryland where it is almost impossible to get insurance that covers Pit-Bulls, Rottweilers and Dobermans in Rental properties
Do You Have to Rent to Someone Who Has a Pit Bull As a Service Dog?
According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Fair Housing Act protects those with disabilities in need of service animals and/or emotional support animals. Because of this federal law, an animal considered to be an aggressive breed, such as a Pit Bull, is protected and must be allowed into a rental property if it is determined to be a service animal, despite any local laws that prohibit the breed.
Fair housing laws can be a bit tricky in this regard. If a disability is not obvious, a landlord cannot ask what the disability is, but can ask for documentation that there is a disability with a need for a service or emotional support animal. If the animal is strictly a pet, the landlord has every right to deny any animal or breed of animal.
Have you had an experience with a service animal in your rental home?
We are pledged to the letter and spirit of U.S. policy for the achievement of equal housing opportunity throughout the Nation. See Equal Housing Opportunity Statement for more information.