Difference Between Service, Emotional Support Animals and Pets

Difference Between Service, Emotional Support Animals and Pets

Owning an investment property in Biloxi can be profitable thanks to the city's stable economy and thriving job market. However, succeeding as a landlord involves more than finding a good location to buy property.

It also involves making the best decisions for your rental units from the start. These include setting your rent, crafting a marketing strategy, and deciding whether to allow your tenants to house their animals in your unit.

Although you can choose whether to allow pets in your investment property, that isn't the case with service and support animals. Keep reading to find out why.

What Are Service Animals?

Service animals aren't the same as pets. They're highly trained dogs who assist their owners with tasks essential to their well-being.

These duties may include:

  • Helping blind people navigate their surroundings
  • Assisting deaf people with responding to sounds, like a doorbell
  • Predicting the onset of an epileptic fit and assisting their owner
  • Opening doors for wheelchair-bound people

Landlords may not discriminate against prospective tenants who have service animals. That means you must waive your no-pet policy for these tenants and can't charge them a pet deposit.

In some states, a miniature horse may also fulfill the role of a service animal, so you'll have to accommodate them in your rental unit, too.

Managing Pets in a Rental Unit

Over 62% of Americans own a pet of some sort, and most of these people consider their animals a part of their families. These pet parents will go the extra mile to accommodate their pets.

That means they'll pay higher rents and usually take good care of your property to encourage lease renewals.

There are also certain risks associated with allowing pets in an investment property. These include:

  • Barking dogs causing a disturbance
  • Damage to flooring, landscaping, and furnishings
  • Lingering, unpleasant odors in your rental unit
  • Increased property maintenance
  • Wandering pets disturbing the neighbors

An aggressive dog may even bite someone and get you involved in a costly, time-consuming lawsuit.

You can avoid some of these risks with thorough tenant screening processes and routine property inspections to help you detect any issues early on.

Where Do Support Animals Fit In?

Support animals fall into the category of assistance animals, along with service animals. These animals have specialized training, but they don't perform set tasks for their owners.

In most cases, support animals play a comforting or supportive role in the lives of people with mental or psychological difficulties, like anxiety, depression, or phobias.

Under Mississippi law, support animals enjoy the same privileges as service animals when it comes to rental housing.

Simplify Your Decisions as a Landlord in Biloxi, MS

In Biloxi, Mississippi, landlords can benefit from working with a property manager when managing the intricacies of accommodating tenants with pets, service animals, and support animals.

PMI Biloxi offers a full range of property management services, including tenant screening, rental property inspections, and maintenance coordination. We have the legal know-how to guide you through the complications of allowing animals to occupy your rental units, thanks to over 20 years of real estate experience.

Explore our range of simple solutions for your property management problems today.