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Should You Allow Support Animals in Your San Diego Rental Property?

Should You Allow Support Animals in Your San Diego Rental Property?

More than 500,000 people in the United States live with an emotional support animal. For people with disabilities and mental health conditions, these animals are a handy source of companionship, unconditional love, and emotional support.

As a San Diego landlord, though, the thought of dealing with a tenant who lives with support animals can give you sleepless nights. Perhaps you have a no-pet policy in your rental property, and that's because you're aware of the many downsides of allowing pets.

However, you have to think about the issue carefully. Should you allow them? Here's what you need to consider.

A Moral Obligation to Allow Support Animals

When you set out to buy a rental property, you probably didn't have any preferences on the kind of people you'd like to have as tenants. The rental is available to anyone who can pay the rent on time and pass other routine tenant screening checks.

As such, whether a prospective tenant has a support animal is not a reason to reject their application or evict. It's not their fault that they need a support animal.

As a landlord and a decent human being, you have a moral obligation to accommodate such tenants in your property. You could even go a step further and make the space more accommodating.

Expand Your Tenant Pool

When the San Diego rental market is competitive, finding tenants can be a challenge. You don't want your property to go for several months without a tenant as you'll lose rental income.

In such a market, it's essential to make your property appealing to a wider target market. Having a no-pet policy, which by extension means renters who have support animals aren't welcome, significantly shrinks your target market.

Allowing support animals is especially a good business decision if the property is located in a senior community, where many residents are likely to have a support or service animal.

The Law Can Force Your Hand

The first two factors notwithstanding, a landlord can still decide to reject tenants with support animals. Maybe you've weighed the pros and cons and concluded that it's in the best interest of your business to ban them.

Well, in San Diego, you might have no choice but to allow support animals. This is because state and local laws give tenants the right to keep support or service animals regardless of a landlord's pet policies.

Furthermore, landlords cannot charge an additional deposit or extra fees because a tenant has a support animal, and they should make reasonable modifications to the property to accommodate the tenant. If you don't, you can find yourself facing a discrimination lawsuit in court.

Practice Prudent Rental Property Management

Landlords have the right to make their rental rules, but those rules should be well-reasoned, rational, and not in violation of any laws. When it comes to support animals, you have a moral and legal obligation to allow them.

If making hard decisions as a landlord isn't your strong suit, you can leave the management of your San Diego property to McLain Properties. Established in 1978, we have the experience to make the best property management decisions on your behalf.

We can't wait to hear from you!