Many people have done some research and found that the Americans with Disability Act requires that service animals that perform a specific task be allowed in rental housing. The “federal” Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) rules would be fairly limiting to tenants who have an extraordinary need for physical assistance. In the past typical examples would be a blind person who has a seeing eye dog, or a person in a wheelchair who has a dog that opens doors, or retrieves items for that person.
HOWEVER, we have to work with the California Fair Housing laws that are much more liberal than ADA rules. These laws allow for not only service animals, but also therapy and emotional support animals. The requirements for being established as an animal in this category are so liberal that it is impractical to try to indicate the parameters here.
Another important fact is that the federal ADA rules apply more towards public places and the California laws apply more towards housing.
If you are a landlord who has a tenant with a service or support animal, make sure to either contact an attorney for advice, or do your research to ensure that you are not violating the rights of the tenant.
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