Seeing eye dog for a tenant - Posted by David

Posted by Todd W(CO) on July 05, 2001 at 01:16:22:

…reach further on this one. An investor in my area had to do the same thing, but had a contract mandated which said the tenant had to sign a lease of occupancy for up-to but not limited to five years, for changes made to property. His reasoning was that if they decided to leave after the current lease expired (3 months after alterations were made) it would be a waste of time and money. He continued to tell them the alterations would de-value the property and make it harder to market, they excepted. In my personal oppinion it would probably improve the property thus making it MORE valuable, what do you think? I am not an expert on the subject…yet. anyway thought I would share this info with you.
just my thoughts
Todd Williamson(co)

Seeing eye dog for a tenant - Posted by David

Posted by David on July 04, 2001 at 11:36:23:


I just showed a unit to some prospective tenants who are blind. We normally charge a $25 a month pet fee. The girl informed us that we could not legally charge for a seeing eye dog. In this pc world, I have no trouble believing that. But the thing is, it is still a dog, prone to doggy indiscretions. Has anyone out there encountered this? Is the dog even considered a pet? I have a very strict pet agreement; can I “legally” have the tenants sign this? If so, than by definition it is a pet, so why can’t I charge for it? But if it is not considered a pet, and I deny them on the basis of the dog, than I could be sued for discrimination. If it makes any difference, this is a section 8 situation. Husband and wife, both blind. Any wisdom will be greatly appreciated.

Re: Seeing eye dog for a tenant - Posted by Jim Locker

Posted by Jim Locker on July 04, 2001 at 20:14:14:

Of course you can charge extra for the dog, if that is your ordinary and customary policy.

Per the ADA, you have to make “reasonable accomodations” for persons with handicaps. For this reason, you would not be allowed to REFUSE the guide dog. However, the handicapped person must bear any expense associated with the reasonable accomodation. By that standard, you can charge for the dog.

Oh, BTW. The guide dog typically is both very intelligent and very well trained. “Doggie indiscretions” are less likely with that dog than with many others.

Re: Seeing eye dog /training /breeds - Posted by Ann

Posted by Ann on July 04, 2001 at 18:34:12:

As to the title, I’m sure some will say it is not your problem; however, I respectfully suggest that you look into this:

Seeing- eye dogs are put through about $25K worth of training. (Hearing ear dogs, companion dogs, perhaps less, as they do not operate as much on the street)
They go to work with thier owners, at their owners workplace, guide them over curbs, and are well-trained to navigate, ignore other yappy dogs, aggressive dogs, and yappy people, horns, etc.
The prospective owners also go through extensive training with the dog, to verify that a match is
Instead of seeking to have the dog designated as a pet and charge for it, perhaps you can do a search and visit some of the dog companion/working dog sites, possibly, and links from there, such as canine companions for the disabled.
These dogs are not puppies: they are trained early as puppies, but they are well-past the chewing stage, are spayed or neutered, and must undergo rigorous training. They are specially selected to be non-aggressive, and not hyperactive, nor hypersensitive. Surely you can realize that a blind person does not want a dog that barks for no reason, or jumps up on people, or makes messes. A dog owned by a blind person will probably not be left in a house or apt, alone all day, only to develop separation anxiety and
go beserk and chew the walls. He will most likely be with the owner at work, or wherever the owner goes, because, that is his job.

You may think you want to hesitate to rent to the disabled, but having a service dog makes a person less disabled. This may or may not be of interest to you.

As for our tax dollars paying for it, the dog training is done by private funds.
Perhaps one of us someday will have such a need, and an opportunity to live independently because of this service,
or, perhaps, an opportunity to contribute to someone else’s independence and well-being.

If you fear for other tenant’s objections, then have them put their dog through a Canine Good Citizen program, or other methods to certify that the dog is a “nice dog”, and neutered, and non-aggressive.

So, considering that, why deny them, or focus on the $25/month. Perhaps there is more to be learned from this.
Yes, I realize that Mr. Landlord considers potential pets as a “profit center”, but there is more to life than that concept, in my most humble opinion: while he has good information, it’s up to the individual to make their own choice.

There was a time when rentals were denied on basis of age, race, marital status, and having children. Now some people are suggesting to refuse to rent to lawyers, paralegals, or law students, or paralegal students.

Here’s a wild guess as to doggie indescretions. If you had a $25k dog, and had gone through minimum 2 weeks training to get him, travelling to a distant city, spending weeks living in a dormitory in that facility and working everyday with that dog to verify that the match was good, walking in the city streets with that dog and your supervisor, you’d probably watch his diet pretty well, so that he wouldn’t vomit on the carpet; you’s probably take him to the vet and keep him vermin-free and in good health.
I’m thinking, most likely the dog is not going to poop on the carpet.

A certain style of house is better suited to a dog,
such as one that has tile or linoleum foyer, or back entrance pantry or “mudroom”, where you doff your boots in winter.
I am a proponent of not throwing the baby out with the bathwater. I know I differ from some one this board, but animial behaviours that are problematic are mainly due to their being puppies, or to separation anxiety, not enough exercise, wrong dog for the space, etc. The primary concern seems to be when a LL owns multi-unit buildings and word gets around, and each tenant decides his pitbull is everybit as worthy an apt dweller as is the other tenant’s pinkinese. Or, that there is no rule on neutereing, and the property becomes a breeding ground, as the un-neutered pets attract wannabe’s.

A companion animal is neutered.

Perhaps Sec 8 has some guidelines on this.
I have yet to see any specific guidelines from anyone on this board; either the advice is never have any, or collect extreme penalties and fees and STILL with no guidelines. As if the only object was to collect money, not to protect other tenants.
There are many possible controls and screenings, from leashes to invisible fence, to graduation from good dog school; I’d like to meet the dog, and reject the tenant if the dog jumps on me, because that is controllable, and if the prospective tenant doesn’t repect me, well…he doens’t respect anyone, let alone other tenants, or other dogs.

Never have heard this headline: “Guide dog goes beserk and bites child”.

Most animal smell problems are due to marking territory.
I have even known of an un-neutered cat who was indoors with two neutered male cats, and the unneutered one never marked…he wouldn’t dare. He was the new guy, and he knew he was in trouble.
But his urine in the litter pan was unmistakable.

I don’t recommend trying this, of course.
Cat odor is due to un-neutered males, mostly.
Even their urine smells different, but the spray…
it’s worse, but, oddly, smells like basil.
The point is, don’t ever have un-neutered males in the house.
Your neutered, seeing eye dog will be indoors, his food will not be left outside to attract other dogs.
Some leases I have seen designate a height, which makes no sense, because a gentle retired, short haired, greyhound could be taller than a more aggressive pitbull or other dog. A sheepdog weighs more than a pitbull, but will only herd you, and bark nastily if you enter his car.

Well, as I said, kindly think about the issues.
Fleas and ticks can be controlled very well these days with meds; no longer any reason for infestation.
Proof of rabies vaccinations and vermin/disease treatment can be required and proven

I did have a rather bad experience once, inspecting a house in Miami that had been vacant for some time.
Well, apparently, there had been fleas, but having a fence and no …ready meat… when I went into the back yard, the fleas jumped on me up to shoulder height. I’ll never forget it. I was covered and had to flee!

Perhaps some of the solutions will fit into your
frame of reference and business plan.

In any event, I think that the others are right, that a service dog is not a pet, but you can look that up online.

I think a per-month charge is designed to discriminate, but perhaps, a cleaning deposit, would be more realistic, if it is done in reason, yet I do not say this wil any legal authority.

I also find it interesting that “Mr. Landlord” recommends “upgrading” his units, by offering a ceiling fan or other perk, or a carpet cleaning upon renewal.
a yearly free cleaning would be in order. Not sure I recall how he explained this, but it might be an option, or, might discriminate…who knows. But
it was an option. I do not intend to misquote.

Wouldn’t this prospective tenant stay longer in a place that treated them and their service dog well?

If all your tenants had service dogs, I’d think you’d do pretty well, except for hair. But, whreas Mr. LL suggests an upgrade to entice a tenant to stay, why not offer the choice of a yearly cleaning to a tenant who is going to, most likely, stay anyway? Or work it so they can pay for it or whatever make it work for you both. Perhaps an optional service. I would think it would be difficult for them to clean, I don’t know,
what other services they have through Blind Services or Sec 8. I hope you will keep us posted with your

You can ask the folks at Section 8 if they have any guidelines, but if they don’t, I offer my possible solutions with all due respect, and awareness that pets can do damage, and that puppies, do, indeed eat
baseboards. For a living.

PS: Kindly forgive any redundancy.

Re: Seeing eye dog for a tenant - Posted by phil fernandez

Posted by phil fernandez on July 04, 2001 at 13:00:32:

The other thing is that the seeing eye dogs that I have seen are very clean,obedient, smart, well behaved dogs. I can’t picture one of them tearing up your apartment.

Re: Seeing eye dog for a tenant - Posted by phil fernandez

Posted by phil fernandez on July 04, 2001 at 12:57:14:

There is a federal disabilities act or some such name close to that, that will define what you must comply with as a landlord. It would be my guess that you would have to allow the seeing eye dog and probably couldn’t charge more or get a special deposit.

I just had a situation where one of my tenants got her 97 year old mother out of a nursing home and into her apartment. I then get a call from a state outfit telling me that I am required to put up a wheeel chair exit ramp and redo the bathroom with handicapped toilet, sink tub grab bars etc. Now the agency is paying for all this. No money out of my pocket, but of course we as the tax payers are REALLY paying for this. Again the ramp and other improvements to the apartment the agency said by federal law I had to do it.

It’s my guess that the seeing eye dog would be similar in nature to what I just had to do. But check it out.

Re: Seeing eye dog for a tenant - Posted by CarolFL

Posted by CarolFL on July 04, 2001 at 12:05:45:

I don’t know about all of the legalities, but my understanding is that seeing-eye dogs are NOT considered pets … which is why they are allowed in restaurants, airplanes, post offices, grocery stores, and everywhere else animals are usually NOT>

Also, (again w/o 1st hand experience) I would not be concerned about doggie indiscretions. These dogs go thru more training than most of our military now (No offensen meant), and are highly selected.

Why don’t you find out what these folks require for their best functioning and comfort and see if there is a fit?

Lastly, do a home visit where they are living now. We frequently do Sect 8 and one of their employees encouraged us to interview in the propective tenants’ current home. You CAN refuse to rent to someone who you think, based on their present home, will not take care of yours. One of the few legal reasons we have anymore!

Best success,