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Johnsons

Tenant found to have unauthorized pet- now claims is service animal.

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We rent out two bedrooms in our condo. We reside in the third bedroom. We have a 13 yr old pit bull who loves people but hates other dogs. Because of this, we have a strict no pets policy in our lease. One of our current tenents, after residing here for 4 months, was found to have a puppy living with them. After found, they admitted that they have had the dogs for months (though not at move-in). As this is a direct violation of their lease and causes an unsafe environment for our dog, we moved to evict them. They come back stating that it was illegal to evict them and that the dog could stay because it’s a service dog. They are also claiming it’s illegal for us to ask for proof that it’s a service dog. I can’t believe that a landlords hands would just be completely tied in a situation like this. We are new landlords so don’t know how everything works, admittedly. But we don’t want to keep our dog locked up for the rest of their lease just to ensure he doesn’t see it some day, attack it, and then have them take action against us and have our dog put down. What can we do to get them out or, at the very least, get the dog out? 

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29 minutes ago, Johnsons said:

we moved to evict them.

 

What does that mean?

 

Did you file in court and serve them a summons and complaint or just give them written notice of termination of tenancy for cause in accordance with the Oregon landlord tenant statute?

 

37 minutes ago, Johnsons said:

They come back stating that it was illegal to evict them and that the dog could stay because it’s a service dog. They are also claiming it’s illegal for us to ask for proof that it’s a service dog.

 

Never take legal advice from the enemy.

 

37 minutes ago, Johnsons said:

What can we do to get them out or, at the very least, get the dog out? 

 

Hire a lawyer. You obviously have no clue how to handle this.

 

 

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15 minutes ago, adjusterjack said:

 

What does that mean?

 

Did you file in court and serve them a summons and complaint or just give them written notice of termination of tenancy for cause in accordance with the Oregon landlord tenant statute?

We gave them written notice of termination.

15 minutes ago, adjusterjack said:

 

Never take legal advice from the enemy.

 

Obviously. Which is why I came here first. For direction and to get basic questions answered. As is the purpose of this site. 

15 minutes ago, adjusterjack said:

Hire a lawyer. You obviously have no clue how to handle this.

Hadn’t thought of that- thanks! 

15 minutes ago, adjusterjack said:

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, Johnsons said:

Which is why I came here first. For direction and to get basic questions answered. As is the purpose of this site. 

Actually, this is a legal discussion board, not a source for advice or direction.  No one here is your lawyer.

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7 hours ago, Johnsons said:

We rent out two bedrooms in our condo. We reside in the third bedroom. We have a 13 yr old pit bull who loves people but hates other dogs. Because of this, we have a strict no pets policy in our lease. One of our current tenents, after residing here for 4 months, was found to have a puppy living with them. After found, they admitted that they have had the dogs for months (though not at move-in). As this is a direct violation of their lease and causes an unsafe environment for our dog, we moved to evict them. They come back stating that it was illegal to evict them and that the dog could stay because it’s a service dog. They are also claiming it’s illegal for us to ask for proof that it’s a service dog. I can’t believe that a landlords hands would just be completely tied in a situation like this. We are new landlords so don’t know how everything works, admittedly. But we don’t want to keep our dog locked up for the rest of their lease just to ensure he doesn’t see it some day, attack it, and then have them take action against us and have our dog put down. What can we do to get them out or, at the very least, get the dog out? 

 

The good news for you is that the federal Fair Housing Act (FHA) does not appear to apply to you. While the FHA applies to most housing, it excludes owner-occupied housing that contains no more than four units. You rent out only two bedrooms and live in the third, so you appear to have only three "units" in your building. If the FHA does not apply to you then you do not need to comply with the FHA rules on assistance animals. As far as I can tell from a quick search Oregon does not have a law that provides rights for a service or assistance animal in housing situations, but you will want to check that with an Oregon attorney who practices in the area of housing law. If no Oregon law applies here, then your lease would be enforceable regardless of whether the animal really is a service animal. After consulting the attorney you may wish to inform the tenant that the FHA does not cover your rental situation and thus the tenant has no right to have a service/assistance animal in your place. 

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On 1/12/2019 at 9:47 AM, RetiredinVA said:

Actually, this is a legal discussion board, not a source for advice or direction.  No one here is your lawyer.

Not asking anyone to be my lawyer. Asking for basic info. If you do not have the info, or are not inclined to provide it, why waste everybody’s time by commenting on this thread? 

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I can help with this issue!
You do not need an attorney. 
 Just go to the Americans with Disabilities Website- Service Dogs Frequently Asked Questions:
https://www.ada.gov/regs2010/service_animal_qa.html#cert
 

This sounds like a case of FAKE SERVICE DOG SYNDROME!


While it is true that someone with a disability, if qualified, is allowed to train their own dog, your tenants can't merely wave a magic wand and designate their dog as a Service Dog.  Service Dogs are highly trained ASSISTANCE ANIMALS. They are specifically trained for people with a disability. There are LAWS that they must follow.

Here is an example:

The dog must be trained to perform 3 tasks related to the disability:
These are tasks such as, pull a wheelchair, alert to seizures, retrieve items (for a paralyzed or sick person, for example), alert to high blood pressure or high blood sugar (diabetes).

Be aware that there are a number of scams going on from the INTERNET. People purchase fake Service Dog IDs, Service Dog "certification", Service dog "documents". They will wave these in front of an unsuspecting merchant. Since the public is completely uneducated about Service Dogs, they will accept these fake documents rather than face punishment.

The truth is, there are NO SUCH THING as Service Dog IDs, Service Dog "certifications", or Service dog "documents". There is no standard that evaluated all Service dogs except private schools who train their own dogs.  This is why it is so confusing.

I would go on that it goes without saying that the dog must be well-mannered but FAKE SERVICE DOGS have gotten so out of control that now I have to comment on that.

The dog must be impeccably trained. This means, voice control, as well as leash control. The dog must understand training and have a good relationship with the handler because the dog has to think independently in order to assist the disabled person (sometimes, the dog has to "disobey" in order to make the correct decision for the handler (example: A guide dog who will not cross the street when a car is coming).

 IE: If a person is yanking their dog around by the leash or collar, or the dog is bouncing around like a maniac, or they have to control their dog by barbaric means such as using a prong collar (a metal collar with metal prongs sticking into the dog's neck) or worse, a SHOCK collar (now renamed "stim collar", and a number of ridiculous other "cover up names"), the DOG IS NOT TRAINED but merely subdued by pain.
 

So, how do you know if a dog is a Service dog or a fake?

By law, you ask the handler. What task does your dog do for you (Not what is your disability)?

 

By observation, see how the dog is handled. Is he well-mannered, does the handler seem to know what s/he is doing? There are no excuses for bad behavior (some dogs do have an off day) or using pain to control a dog. Service Dogs do not need to be "controlled". They can be "managed" such as by using a leash. They have a job to do. They should be trained to be able to do their job without intervention.

The dog should be well-socialized, friendly with people but not eager to socialize. Socializing is for off-duty. No signs of aggression, snapping, growling,  or anything but a friendly demeanor are appropriate.

SD are not required to wear identifying equipment. Sometimes, the more a dog is "decked out" in uniform, the more suspicious I find it. Real Service Dog handler teams do not show off. They are quiet, often are never seen. If someone makes a big deal out of their dog's status, keep it in mind. Doesn't mean the dog isn't legit, either.

 

A puppy in training is not a Service Dog. It is a Puppy in training. Therefore, it does not qualify for Service Dog exemption. You could make an exception if this turns out to be a puppy for a disabled person. That would be the ethical thing to do. But first, consider whether the disabled person understands what their dog is trained for.

Who is doing the training? What methods are they using?  What is the dog being trained to do and why?

In general, the average person is not a good dog trainer for the average dog. Most people do not understand how to train, how to reward, and how dogs think. People don't want to take the time to work on training every day. They are stingy with rewards (dry biscuits at best-yuck) and are not consistent with training. Eventually, training dwindles down and the owners come to terms with not having trained their dog. So, they love their dog despite that she jumps on people, barks, does not come when called, etc.

With that in mind, the average disabled person is not the ideal person to train their own dog for special training needs for the same reasons. Unless they have extra experience, training a Service Dog requires many more hours of one on one work, an understanding of how to communicate with the dog, and the ability to train a dog to think for itself.

So, when your tenant tells you their dog is a Service Dog. Ask yourself if they are capable of accomplishing all of that. 

Meanwhile, Everybody go to the ADA Website and read the FAQ about Service Dogs. Its a great way to learn About the law and can help you  answer questions the next time any Service Dog issues come up in your neighborhood.

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53 minutes ago, sd-trainer said:

I can help with this issue!
You do not need an attorney. 
 Just go to the Americans with Disabilities Website- Service Dogs Frequently Asked Questions:
https://www.ada.gov/regs2010/service_animal_qa.html#cert
 

 

However, it is not the ADA that applies to housing situations. Rather, it is the federal Fair Housing Act (FHA) that applies to housing situations, and the rules there for assistance animals are different than what the ADA requires for service animals. I provided earlier a link to the HUD document that explains the rules for assistance animals in housing. 

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Whoops! You are absolutely right! The Federal Fair Housing Act does apply to housing! Forgot to mention that in my soapboxing!

Still, the rules for housing are not a whole lot different than they are for ADA rules for Service Dogs. 

At any rate, Its a good idea for everyone to review BOTH websites, especially FAQ about Service Dogs. Because of the mess of Fake Service Dogs, its good to know what Service Dogs are about. 

Also, please understand the difference  between Service Dogs, Emotional Support Dogs, and Therapy Dogs. They are all very different.

 

 

 

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