The Washington State Law Against Discrimination prohibits unfair practices of discrimination against a person with a disability who uses a trained dog guide or service animal. Allowable Deductions on Security Deposits in Washington. Must allow emotional support animals, even if there is a general “no-pets” policy. 12) Tenants agree that this Agreement applies only to the specific pet described above and that no other pet may be substituted. The limit is 25 percent of the first month's rent. As previously discussed, once you have an Emotional Support Animal letter, you will be able to live with your ESA in buildings that have a “no pets” policy. Submit your ESA letter to your landlord or airline representative to request reasonable accommodations. City staff have had conversations with landlords and tenants to clarify parts of the law and resolve complaints, he added. Seattle's law also caps the amount of money landlords can hold for a refundable pet damage deposit. Luckily for tenants, the market demands what is reasonable, and most landlords charge between one and two months' rent. In addition, if you provide the proper documentation to an airline, your ESA can also travel with you in the cabin of an aircraft at no additional charge. Like a security deposit, a pet deposit is generally refundable. So far, no landlords have been cited for violating the pet provisions of the law, Tallent said. The city of Seattle is facing a lawsuit from a group of landlords challenging one of the city’s most recent protections for tenants. Separate Security Deposit Bank Account: Required (RCW §§ 59.18.270) Non-refundable Fees: Allowed, but they must not be part of the security deposit, and must be clearly designated as a “non-refundable fee” in a written lease agreement. If you are one of the many folks affected by a mental or emotional condition, you may be significantly helped by the companionship of an Emotional Support Animal. The law does make it illegal for landlords to charge any up-front, non-refundable fee for moving a pet into an apartment. Washington’s Law Against Discrimination defines service animals as animals that have been trained to assist or accommodate people with physical, sensory, or mental disabilities. The limit is 25 percent of the first month's rent. Cannot request deposits bas… The letter will state that you have a mental or emotional condition and that an ESA would help alleviate symptoms of that condition. In addition, the Fair Housing Act exempts owner-occupied buildings with no more than four units and single-family houses sold or rented by the owner without the use of an agent. They include: A legitimate ESA letter must include the LMHP’s license and contact information. There were urine stains on the carpet that I could not completely get out (faded spots from cleaning, no odor). To obtain a “prescription” (or, more accurately, a recommendation letter) for an emotional support animal you will need to seek the help of a licensed mental health professional (LMHP). If you decide to use an online ESA service, make sure that you are connected with an LMHP licensed in the State of Washington. They had two approved golden retreivers and a 2yo son. This is important so the landlord or airline can confirm and verify the letter was written for you. Pet deposits cannot exceed 25 percent of the first month’s rent; Installment plan requirements: Renters who are moving in with rental agreements for 6 months or longer can choose to pay their deposit, move-in fees, and last month’s rent in 6 equal monthly installments Many landlords, however, will still grant accommodation for ESAs as a courtesy even if they are not legally obligated to do so. The law went into effect in January, though a landlord lobbying group filed a lawsuit in May that seeks to overturn the regulations. State Security Deposit Rules and Pets All states allow landlords to collect a security deposit when tenants move in, and hold it until the tenants leave. No. You would submit that letter to your landlord or airline for accommodation of an ESA. Each state has laws that allow landlords to collect security deposits to hold against damages. Cannot charge pet deposits or pet fees in connection with the ESA. ESA Doctors has been helping clients since 2015 lead happier and healthier lives with the companionship of an Emotional Support Animal. The legislation says apart from a refundable deposit, "the landlord may not charge the tenant any fee for keeping a pet.". Lawyers representing the association filed the lawsuit Tuesday in King County Superior Court. The following is a list of security deposit limits by state. If you do not have a therapist currently, or your existing therapist or doctor is unfamiliar with emotional support animals, ESA Doctors can connect you to a mental health professional that is licensed in Washington. The landlord can use or make deductions from the security deposit for purposes specified under the lease agreement. The documentation you need for an ESA is a letter from a licensed healthcare professional. It’s common for pet fees and deposits to range between $100 and $500, but this range varies from state to state. I am on HUD housing which is a federal program. To legitimately qualify your pet as an ESA, you will need to obtain an ESA recommendation letter from a licensed mental health professional (LMHP). Many states do not have a statute about charging a pet deposit. However, tenants are still responsible for any damages caused by their ESA. If you damage the rental property, your security deposit gives the landlord the resources to cover the cost of repairs. It is important to submit your ESA letter to your landlord or airline as soon as possible. Does it matter where I live ? When a December bill by the Seattle City Council limited the fees landlords can charge, some wondered whether those pet rent charges were still legal. Some of the states that do not legislate pet deposits do not allow any collected fees to be non-refundable. Generally speaking, most states in the U.S. follow the same guidelines when it comes to ESA regulations – this article will explore the specific requirements for ESAs in Washington State. They are free to charge $1 or $1 million. Licensed mental health professionals can include psychologists, psychiatrists, counselors, registered nurses, social workers and doctors. The Fair Housing Act protects Emotional Support Animals from “no-pet” policies and pet deposits. You may find this article helpful: https://esadoctors.com/excuses-landlords-deny-emotional-support-animal/. I live in WA State. Emotional Support Animal Laws for Housing, Feds Issue New Airline Rules for Flying with Emotional Support Animals, https://esadoctors.com/excuses-landlords-deny-emotional-support-animal/, How to Fly with a Dog – Tips on Traveling with your Emotional Support Animal, Emotional Support Animals in College Dorms, Airline Requirements for Traveling with an Emotional Support Dog, Top 5 Rodents as Emotional Support Animals. The animal must be approved and the landlord must sign this form. The first factor is the number and type of pets. It is estimated that one in four people will suffer from some form of mental disability at some point in their lives. "The key there is the word 'fee,'" Tallent said. We respect your privacy and your inbox. For example, if your ESA would pose a direct threat to the health and safety of others, a landlord could deny your request for reasonable accommodation. You should also note that although the landlord cannot charge deposits or fees, the tenant is still responsible for any damages caused by their ESA to the property. The State Human Rights Commission was created to eliminate and prevent discrimination in employment, in credit and insurance transactions, in places of public accommodation, and in real property transactions. There are several conditions recognized under the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual. Step 2 – Enter the date of the Pet Addendum agreement, followed by the date of the Lease Agreement, the name of the tenant and the landlord. (RCW §§ 59.18.285) Pet Deposits and Additional Fees: Allowed (RCW §§ 59.18.285) A qualified therapist/LMHP can assess you for the following: The State of Washington adheres to the Fair Housing Act‘s (FHA) rules regarding emotional support animals in housing. There are some rules and limitations you should be mindful of when flying with an ESA, you can read more about that here. Airlines and landlords are allowed to request documentation from an LMHP regarding your condition and need for an ESA, but they cannot ask for your medical records or specific information regarding your condition. To qualify for an Emotional Support Animal in Washington, you will need an ESA letter from a Licensed Mental Health Professional licensed in Washington. Note that there are some circumstances where a landlord can validly deny an ESA. A legitimate ESA letter will be on the LMHP’s letterhead and signed by the LMHP. WSR 99-15-025, § 162-38-100, filed 7/12/99, effective 8/12/99. Tenant pet agreement: The security deposit. If you are working with an LMHP in person, it can be helpful to call ahead of time to find about if the LMHP is familiar with ESAs and is knowledgeable about ESA letters.
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