Assistance dog increase?

by Readers Question

14:50 PM, 20th January 2020
About 6 months ago

Assistance dog increase?

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Assistance dog increase?

I am increasingly having potential tenants come to me with requests for housing, but with ‘assistance’ dogs in tow.

I have had requests for accommodation for a registered blind person with a guide dog, – no problem here as we had a ground floor flat and a full history of no issues with the working animal in previous accommodation etc.

Now it seems every one of my potential tenants are declaring ‘anxiety and depression’ and have an ‘official’ assistance dog. These can range from chihuahuas to bulldogs.

Am I sceptical in thinking that this is purely for a monetary benefit increase? I am unable legally to charge any more than 5 weeks rent, so the thought of having possible additional dog damage in the flat does not appeal either. Not fair on other tenants with possible noise etc.

Anyone had any experience of this too?

Reluctant Landlord



Comments

Dennis Leverett

20:56 PM, 21st January 2020
About 6 months ago

Reply to the comment left by EmB at 21/01/2020 - 18:46
I don't think it was intended as you think, I saw it as persons with no disability taking advantage of the system like so many do nowadays. I don't think any decent Landlord would refuse a genuine case, I know I wouldn't and comments further to this have helped me to understand a little more on how to weed out disreputable tenants re: animals. I'm sure no offence was intended by anybody and thank you for your comments which help us all to understand a little more. These dogs are highly trained and unlikely to be a problem but there are many dogs and their owners who aren't. I have two active dogs and winter time is hard work after a daily long walk over muddy fields but of course I do it but no doubt some don't bother.

Rikki

20:59 PM, 21st January 2020
About 6 months ago

For your information there is an “umbrella” organisation that oversees Assistance Dogs in the UK.
https://www.assistancedogs.org.uk/
ADUK is itself overseen by The Assistance Dog International (ADI) organisation.
Although I am neither landlord nor lawyer it may be worth pointing out that although the Equality Act as such seems to say that anyone with a disability can say their dog can be an Assistance Dog, in fact this is not quite true.
Under Part 12, chapter 1, item 173, d, (utilised as the reason for saying “any dog”, the key lies in the words “of a prescribed category”.
The Government has in fact listed Assistance Dogs U.K. umbrella charities as those of a “prescribed charity”
Dogs trained by ADUK, along with ADI and it’s European subsidiary ADeu mean the dogs have had to reach a required standard of behaviour and hygiene. They are also taught to “poop” and “wee” in appropriate places on command.
Therefore the property you rent should have an enclosed area/garden with exclusive access in which the Assistance Dog can do its “business” in a specific area of that enclosed garden.
The added benefit to landlords is that before a Recognised Assistance Dog Charity will allow an Assistance Dog to be placed they will assess the property to determine if it meets this exclusive sole access garden/space.
If your property does not have this the it MAY be deemed inappropriate for the placement of an Assistance Dog by the Charity supplying the dog.
The added bonus of Recognised(Prescribed) Charity Assistance Dogs is that the health of the Dog is regularly checked and it’s ability to continue doing the “job” as is the “Recipient” of the Assistance Dog assessed to safely handle and maintain the dog.
Therefore in summary, a dog provided by a ADUK, ADeu or IAD is more likely to be well trained and less likely to be a problem to the landlord and adjoining tenants.
You can also be certain welfare of these dogs is monitored.
Given the choice as a landlord you could state a preference towards ADUK, ADeu, IAD trained dogs because you can be sure that the dogs welfare will be catered for and you have the option to expect any problems that may occur will be addressed by additional training where necessary by the Recognised (Prescribed) Charity.

NB please note there are and will be charities that form to provide Assistance Dogs that are not yet ADUK, ADeu, IAD, members but will be working towards becoming members, like for example, Canine Generated Independence.

Roy B

21:36 PM, 21st January 2020
About 6 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Disabled Chick at 21/01/2020 - 18:55
My feeling is that the Landlord is not querying genuine assitance dogs but saying pet owners are jumping on and abusing the way people regard assitance dogs as a way to get their pets in. Not genuine assistance dogs being refused.

Disabled Chick

22:03 PM, 21st January 2020
About 6 months ago

Thank you for appreciating my views. All of the charities that I have researched highlight the importance of an assistance dog being registered, so that everyone can feel reassured in the fact that they have been trained properly in all different surroundings.

I believe that if a leaseholder objects to agenuine service dog, they themselves would also be in breach of the law which could lead to a discrimination case. It is all to do with the laws surrounding accessibility and how it would be discriminating against disabled people who require the assistance dog to live independently. The only time an objection would be valid is if there wasn't an appropriate area surrounding the property that the service dog could use the toilet- the property doesn't require a garden but an area, at least 6 ft by 6ft (most charities say this and it doesn't need to be square, just at least 36 ft squared) near the property. A part from this, I don't think the leaseholder can justify their reasoning for preventing you letting a flat to a person with a service dog.

Disabled Chick

22:11 PM, 21st January 2020
About 6 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Roy B at 21/01/2020 - 21:36
The reason I queried it was because it sounded like only people with traditional physical disabilities have registered assistance dogs. I just wanted to make sure everyone was aware that more charities are providing service dogs to those with mental and emotional problems as well as physical nowadays. I didn't mean to cause any offence, I just didn't want anyone assuming someone with severe depression and anxiety doesn't have an assistance dog because in rare cases they do. Like I said in my previous post, if it turns out that the dog is not registered with a charity then by all means their dog, even if they believe them to be a support animal, is a pet and should be treated as such in terms of accomodation rights.

Disabled Chick

22:48 PM, 21st January 2020
About 6 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Disabled Chick at 21/01/2020 - 22:11
*Apologies for the 57 likes, my phone froze. I don't know how to undo them now though.

WP

8:28 AM, 22nd January 2020
About 6 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Sunrise at 21/01/2020 - 11:23
The only issue here is a lot of them don't actually leave in the 'proper' way. My client base is where leaving means eviction ...or they do a bunk. :(. Any deposit I hold pays for unpaid rent/court fees/damages.

WP

8:33 AM, 22nd January 2020
About 6 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Disabled Chick at 21/01/2020 - 18:55
I completely understand your point and yes I do have genuine registered dogs in some of our ground floor properties. All have good previous records etc and no issues here. When you get single mum's with bulldogs saying they are for anxiety then I'm afraid its a no, especially as I only have a first floor flat left. Its not fair on others in the block anyway. I've had to explain this before, tenants get wind of someone having a pet and they all want one! I have explained the genuine need for that person so all was well.

WP

8:36 AM, 22nd January 2020
About 6 months ago

Reply to the comment left by EmB at 21/01/2020 - 18:46
I have no problem with genuine needs for assistance dogs! I have a guy who is in the same situation as you, and I was able to help as I had a ground floor flat available.

Denise

13:05 PM, 22nd January 2020
About 6 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Mark Alexander at 21/01/2020 - 19:58
I have an assistance dog and everyone who has a registered dog always has a yellow book confirming they are a true assistance dog so make sure you ask them to provide it.

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