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


Gillian Schifreen

16:45 PM, 27th January 2020
About 6 months ago

Reply to the comment left by James Noble at 25/01/2020 - 18:14
Believe it or not there is a massive shortage of puppies in UK shelters and waiting lists for small, young dogs with no behavioural issues. Because of the is the re-homing criteria is so high I was told last year by a UK shelter the Queen wouldn't qualify for an adopted dog in the UK now! We have no shortage of these and it stops people buying from puppy farms.

Kathy Evans

15:38 PM, 29th January 2020
About 5 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Gillian Schifreen at 27/01/2020 - 16:45
Well, perhaps those looking to rehome a dog should be persuaded to adopt an older animal


18:00 PM, 29th January 2020
About 5 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Mark Alexander at 21/01/2020 - 19:58
One point. In the UK the term “Service Dog” applies only to dogs working with the Armed Services, the Police, the Border Agency (essentially all officially working for Her Majesties Government) and Search and Rescue Agencies.
”Assistance Dogs” are defined under The Equality Act Part 12, Chapter 1, item 173 (1)
(a) a dog which has been trained to guide a blind person;
(b) a dog which has been trained to assist a deaf person;
(c) a dog which has been trained by a prescribed charity to assist a disabled person who has a disability that consists of epilepsy or otherwise affects the person’s mobility, manual dexterity, physical co-ordination or ability to lift, carry or otherwise move everyday objects;
(d) a dog of a prescribed category which has been trained to assist a disabled person who has a disability (other than one falling within paragraph (c)) of a prescribed kind.

The term ‘prescribed’ refers to a list issued by the U.K.Government,
Therefore in answer to your question a “genuine” Assistance Dog cannot be refused without breaking the Equality Act which is Law.
All Assistance Dogs from the prescribed charities carry proof they are trained by and monitored by them.
Other organisations may be in the process of becoming Affiliated to Assistance Dogs U.K. (ADUK) and should have a letter from their organisation to say the Dog is part of their training scheme, therefore you can check with these organisations and also search elsewhere, for further information about said organisations.

Dogs provided by genuine charities to do the a Work of Assistance Dogs will have such a letter and the recipient of these dogs will have only had to pay a “Registration/Adoption” fee.

A few years ago a rouge organisation was uncovered that provided “Service Dogs” in the U.K. for tens of thousands of pounds and it was discovered these dogs had little or no training at all. They were closed down
This is why the Government has the list of “prescribed” organisations/charities and everyone is extremely wary of Dogs referred to as “Service Dogs” as applied in the USA to dogs assisting disabled people.
There is ongoing work by a Government Cross Party Group that includes ADUK and other parties, that constantly reviews the situation around Assistance Dogs and General Dog Laws and Dangerous Dogs Laws
If someone presents with “A Service Dog” they are either visiting or come to work in the U.K. with a genuine “Assistance Dog”
You should be asking questions and looking for supporting evidence.
However if someone genuinely presents with a “Service Dog” from the USA they will be somewhat taken aback by being asked questions about the dog and their disability as it is illegal under the “Americans with Disabilities Act” (ADA) to ask such questions. Your tact and diplomacy will be needed.
Hope this helps

Ian Narbeth

12:55 PM, 14th February 2020
About 5 months ago

Interesting and informative discussion here. EmB, Riki and Disabled Chick make fair points. However, they need to view it from the landlord's perspective as well.
We don't allow pets in our HMOs and have never had a tenant with an assistance dog so I have no axe to grind.
I think the concern on the part of many landlords is that if anything goes wrong, the landlord loses out. There is very little upside in taking on a tenant with an animal and plenty of risk. Landlords have had five years or more of increased regulations, petti-fogging bureaucracy, legislative traps, threats of fines, imprisonment and rogue landlord databases. Landlords experience massive delays in evicting defaulting tenants and judges, MPs and "charities" all take the tenants' side even where the landlord is exemplary and the tenant a complete s*1t.
Landlords are now asked to take on extra risk in having animals in a house (and cannot take a larger deposit under threat of £5000 fines because of the Tenant Fees Act). If the tenant stops paying rent and the pet ruins the carpets and scratches the woodwork, landlords end up thousands or tens or thousands of pounds out of pocket and none of those advocating for tenants seems to give a damn. If you want landlords to be more accomodating, stop vilifying landlords, stop burdening them, make sure the legal system works swiftly and then they may oblige.

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