Understanding Tenant Rights and Support Animals in Denver, Colorado

Understanding Tenant Rights and Support Animals in Denver, Colorado

You may know that the Fair Housing Act protects tenants from discrimination on the basis of disability, national origin, gender, race, color, religion, or family status.

But did you know that this act also enforces protections for emotional support animals? Emotional support animal laws may prevent you from enforcing your no-pet policy in certain situations.

Fortunately, landlords still have some rights if a tenant's service animal acts up on their property. This guide will help you understand what a support animal is and isn't and navigate the legal do's and don'ts like a pro.

What Is a Support Animal in Denver?

In Denver, a support animal is a dog or cat that a licensed mental health professional prescribes to an individual. These animals provide emotional support, which is why they are also known as emotional support animals.

A tenant must have an official emotional support animal letter to prove the animal's status. If they have a valid prescription, the tenant may be entitled to certain protections under Colorado law.

Emotional Support Animals vs Service Animals

Emotional support animals are not service animals. Service animals help people with disabilities perform certain tasks.

Like support animals, tenants with service animals receive certain legal protections. Individuals with service animals receive an even larger number of rights under the American Disability Act (ADA).

Emotional Support Animals vs Pets

Pets are not emotional support animals. A tenant must have a valid prescription, including an official emotional support animal letter, for a dog or a cat to be considered a support animal.

Without documentation, a pet will not receive the same legal protections as a support animal or service animal.

Tenants and Emotional Support Animals

The Fair Housing Act (FHA) grants certain rights to tenants with emotional support animals. Namely, landlords cannot discriminate against tenants or prospective tenants who own support animals.

Under the FHA, landlords cannot evict tenants with support animals. They also cannot deny housing to an applicant on the sole basis of their support animal ownership.

These rules also extend to properties with no-pet policies. An exception must be made to allow tenants to enjoy their emotional support animals while living on the property.

Exceptions to Emotional Support Animal Laws

The FHA makes an important caveat for property owners renting units to tenants with support animals. The support animal must not behave badly or disrupt the community.

Landlords can legally charge fines for any property damage a Colorado support animal causes. A misbehaving support animal may also be removed from the premises in certain cases.

Need Help With Your Pet Policies in Denver?

Emotional support animals are dogs or cats prescribed by a mental health professional. Tenants and applicants with support animals are entitled to certain legal rights that normal pets are not.

Do you need help navigating the complex regulations on service and support animals? PMI Elevation is a Denver property management firm with world-class services to help you perfect your pet policy and more.

Contact us today to learn more about our solutions.