Difference Between Service, Emotional Support Animals and Pets

Difference Between Service, Emotional Support Animals and Pets

Do you have a pet? Do they bring you joy? You're not alone; 80% of people believe their pets bring them happiness and emotional support.

As a landlord, it's crucial to recognize the distinction between service animals, emotional support animals, and pets. These three categories are not equal, and understanding their differences is essential for providing a pet-friendly rental while upholding your rights as a property owner.

In this article, we delve into the nuances of each category. Keep reading to learn more about these differences and how they can impact your role as a landlord in Atlanta, Georgia.

What Are Service Animals

Service animals, typically dogs, have been trained to do specific tasks for people with disabilities. Many different disabilities may qualify a person for a service animal. According to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), service animals help with a wide range of tasks, including:

  • Guiding people who are blind or have low vision
  • Alerting people with hearing impairments to sounds
  • Providing physical assistance, such as helping people with mobility disabilities stand up or walk
  • Detecting seizures or other medical emergencies

As a landlord in Atlanta, it's important to know that you are legally required to accommodate disabled tenants with service animals, per the Fair Housing Act.

What Are Emotional Support Animals

Emotional support animals, or ESAs, provide their handlers with emotional support. They are not the same as service animals for people with disabilities. However, ESAs can offer various benefits to their handlers, including:

They can also help with loneliness and give a sense of companionship. So long as the owner has an ESA letter from a medical professional, you cannot deny them accommodation.

What Are Pets?

Pets are animals that provide companionship and have no other duties. Examples of pets include:

Allowing tenants to have pets can be a favorable decision, as it can attract responsible and reliable renters who may be more likely to stay long-term. Additionally, it can create a more welcoming and inclusive atmosphere for pet-owning individuals.

However, you should establish clear guidelines and rules regarding pet ownership. This is to ensure the well-being of the property and other tenants. These guidelines may include:

  • Setting limitations on the size, type, and number of pets allowed
  • Requiring additional pet deposits
  • Outlining responsible pet ownership expectations

Consider Offering a Pet-Friendly Rental

Knowing the difference between service animals, emotional support animals (ESAs), and pets is essential for landlords. Service animals are trained to help, ESAs provide emotional support, and pets are great for friendship.

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