Can Landlord Refuse Pets

In rental agreements, landlords have the right to restrict or prohibit pets in their properties. This decision can be influenced by various factors, including potential damage to the property, noise concerns, and liability issues. Landlords may also consider the safety of other tenants and the overall suitability of the pet for the rental unit. While some tenants may find these restrictions inconvenient, landlords have the responsibility to maintain a harmonious and safe living environment for all occupants. In certain cases, exceptions may be made for assistance animals, as they are legally protected under the Fair Housing Act.

Landlord Refusal of Pets: Tenants’ Legal Protections

As a tenant, understanding your rights regarding pet ownership in a rental property is essential. While landlords have certain rights, they must also comply with local, state, and federal laws that protect tenants with pets.

Fair Housing Act

The Fair Housing Act (FHA) is a federal law that prohibits discrimination in housing based on several factors, including disability. The FHA recognizes that many people with disabilities rely on animals for assistance with daily living. As such, landlords cannot refuse to rent to tenants with assistance animals.

What Qualifies as an Assistance Animal?

  • An assistance animal is a dog or miniature horse that is trained to perform tasks for an individual with a disability.
  • Assistance animals can help with various tasks, including mobility, hearing, and alerting to seizures.
  • Landlords cannot request specific proof of disability or require a pet deposit or fee for assistance animals.

Reasonable Accommodations

In addition to not being able to deny housing to tenants with assistance animals, landlords must also make reasonable accommodations for tenants with pets. This may include allowing the tenant to have a pet of a specific breed or size that would not normally be allowed under the landlord’s pet policy.

Emotional Support Animals

Emotional support animals (ESAs) are not considered assistance animals under the FHA. However, some states and localities have laws that protect tenants with ESAs. In these jurisdictions, landlords may be required to allow ESAs in rental properties, even if they have a no-pets policy.

State and Local Laws

In addition to federal laws, state and local laws can also provide protections for tenants with pets. For example, some states have laws that limit the amount of pet deposit a landlord can charge. Other states have laws that prohibit landlords from discriminating against tenants with pets.

Document Everything

If you have a pet or are planning to get one, document everything related to your animal. This may include:

  • A letter from your doctor or therapist stating that you need an assistance animal or ESA.
  • Proof of training for your assistance animal.
  • Rental agreements and other correspondence with your landlord regarding your pet.
Federal LawProtections
Fair Housing Act (FHA)Prohibits discrimination based on disability, including refusal to rent to tenants with assistance animals.
Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)Requires landlords to make reasonable accommodations for tenants with disabilities, including allowing assistance animals.
State and Local LawsVary by jurisdiction, but may include protections for tenants with pets, such as limits on pet deposits and fees and prohibitions on discrimination against tenants with pets.


Understanding your rights as a tenant with a pet is essential. Landlords have certain rights, but they must also comply with local, state, and federal laws that protect tenants with pets. If you have any questions about your rights as a tenant with a pet, consult with an attorney or housing counselor.

Fair Housing Act and Service Animals

The Fair Housing Act (FHA) is a federal law that prohibits housing discrimination based on several factors, including disability. The FHA requires landlords to make “reasonable accommodations” for people with disabilities, including allowing service animals. Service animals are defined as dogs that are trained to perform tasks for people with disabilities, such as guiding a blind person or pulling a wheelchair.

Reasonable Accommodations for Service Animals

  • Allowing the service animal to live in the tenant’s unit, even if the landlord has a “no pets” policy.
  • Waiving any pet fees or deposits that the landlord normally charges.
  • Not charging a higher rent for tenants with service animals.
  • Modifying the landlord’s policies or procedures to accommodate the service animal.

Landlords are not required to make accommodations for animals that are not service animals, such as emotional support animals or pets. However, some state and local laws may provide additional protections for these animals.

How to Request a Reasonable Accommodation for a Service Animal

  1. Provide the landlord with a written request for a reasonable accommodation.
  2. Include documentation from a healthcare provider that explains your disability and how the service animal helps you.
  3. Be prepared to answer any questions the landlord may have about the service animal.

If the landlord denies your request for a reasonable accommodation, you can file a complaint with the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

Landlord Responsibilities When Refusing a Service Animal

Landlord’s ResponsibilityExample
Provide a written explanation of the denialThe landlord must provide a written explanation of why the request for a service animal was denied.
Allow the tenant to appeal the decisionThe landlord must allow the tenant to appeal the decision to deny a service animal.
Provide a reasonable accommodationIf the landlord denies the request for a service animal, they must provide a reasonable accommodation for the tenant’s disability.

Health and Safety Concerns

When considering whether to allow pets in a rental property, landlords are required to consider the health and safety of all tenants. This includes both the tenants who live in the property and the tenants who live in соседних properties. There are a number of health and safety concerns that landlords should consider when making this decision.

  • Allergies: Some people are allergic to pet dander, saliva, and urine. If a tenant has allergies, they may experience respiratory problems, skin irritation, and other health issues if they live in a property with pets.
  • Asthma: Pets can also trigger asthma attacks in people who are allergic to them. In addition, pet dander can accumulate in carpets, furniture, and other household items, making it difficult for people with asthma to breathe.
  • Infections: Pets can carry diseases that can be transmitted to humans, such as salmonella, E. coli, and ringworm. If a tenant is not properly caring for their pet, they may be at risk of contracting one of these diseases.
  • Injuries: Pets can also cause injuries to tenants, especially if they are not properly trained. For example, a dog bite or cat scratch can lead to infection or other serious health problems.
  • Noise: Pets can also create noise that can be disruptive to other tenants. For example, a dog that barks excessively can make it difficult for other tenants to sleep or relax.
  • Property Damage: Pets can also damage a rental property. For example, a dog may chew on furniture or a cat may scratch the walls. This damage can be costly for the landlord to repair.
  • In addition to these health and safety concerns, landlords should also consider the following factors when making a decision about whether to allow pets in their rental properties:

    • The type of pet. Some pets, such as dogs and cats, are more likely to cause problems than other pets, such as fish or hamsters.
    • The size of the pet. A large pet is more likely to cause damage to a property than a small pet.
    • The number of pets. A tenant who has multiple pets is more likely to cause problems than a tenant who only has one pet.
    • Table 1: Summary of Health and Safety Concerns
      Health and Safety ConcernPotential Consequences
      AllergiesRespiratory problems, skin irritation, other health issues
      AsthmaAsthma attacks, difficulty breathing
      InfectionsSalmonella, E. coli, ringworm, other diseases
      InjuriesDog bites, cat scratches, other injuries
      NoiseDisruption of sleep or relaxation
      Property DamageChewed furniture, scratched walls, other damage

      Insurance Policies and Pet Restrictions

      Insurance policies and pet restrictions are intertwined in the world of landlord-tenant relationships. Understanding the relationship between the two is crucial for both landlords and tenants who wish to navigate pet-related issues smoothly. Let’s explore how insurance policies can impact pet restrictions in rental properties.

      Insurance Companies and Pet Policies

      • Insurance companies often have policies regarding pets in rental properties, and these policies can vary widely from company to company.
      • Some insurance companies may outright prohibit certain breeds of dogs, such as pit bulls or Rottweilers, due to perceived liability risks associated with these breeds.
      • Other insurance companies may allow pets but charge higher premiums for tenants who own pets, reflecting the increased risk of damage or liability.

      Landlord’s Insurance Considerations

      • Landlords who rent to tenants with pets need to ensure that their insurance policies cover any potential liabilities arising from pet ownership.
      • If a landlord’s insurance policy does not cover pet-related damages or liability, they may be held financially responsible for any damages caused by a tenant’s pet.
      • Landlords should carefully review their insurance policies and consider purchasing additional coverage if necessary to protect themselves from pet-related risks.

      Tenant’s Insurance Considerations

      • Tenants who own pets should also consider purchasing renter’s insurance to protect their belongings and cover their liability in case their pet causes damage to the rental property.
      • Renter’s insurance typically covers personal property, liability, and additional living expenses in case the property becomes uninhabitable due to damage.
      • Tenants should read their renter’s insurance policies carefully to understand the coverage limits and exclusions related to pet ownership.

      Communication and Transparency

      • Effective communication and transparency between landlords and tenants are crucial in addressing pet-related issues.
      • Landlords should clearly outline their pet policies in their lease agreements, including any breed restrictions, pet fees, and insurance requirements.
      • Tenants should disclose any pets they own or intend to own and provide proof of insurance coverage as required by the lease agreement.

      By understanding the interplay between insurance policies and pet restrictions, landlords and tenants can navigate pet-related issues more effectively, reducing the risk of disputes or legal problems. Clear communication, transparency, and careful consideration of insurance policies can help ensure a harmonious landlord-tenant relationship and protect the interests of both parties.

      That’s it for this week’s topic on pet policies for rentals. Thanks for joining me, and I hope you found some useful information here. As you can see, it’s not always simple to determine if a landlord can refuse pets, as there are various factors and exceptions that can influence the decision.

      If you have a question or experience related to renting and pets, feel free to send me an email, or leave a comment below the article. If you’re planning to rent a place yourself, make sure to research the rental terms and landlord’s policy regarding pets, and always have a backup plan in case things don’t go as expected. Remember, communication is key; talking to your landlord about your pet and finding a compromise can often lead to a win-win situation.

      Stay tuned for the next article, where we’ll dive into other interesting topics related to renting and making the most of your living space. Thanks again for reading!