Difference Between Service, Emotional Support Animals, and Pets

Difference Between Service, Emotional Support Animals, and Pets

Are you a landlord or a property manager in Albuquerque, New Mexico, wondering if you should allow pets in your rental property? Before deciding, it's important to know the difference between service animals, emotional support animals, and house pets.

When creating rules, remember there are regulations for each category, especially in housing.

This article explains these differences. It explores options for landlords and discusses the legal implications of each category. Understanding these nuances can help you make informed decisions that consider both tenants' needs and your property management goals.

Service Animals

Service animals are not pets. They are trained to do specific tasks or services for individuals with disabilities. While dogs are the most common type of service animal, other animals can also be used and trained. Examples of service animals include:

  • Guide dogs
  • Hearing dogs
  • Mobility assistance dogs
  • Seizure alert/Response dogs
  • Diabetic alert dogs

In many countries, including the United States under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), landlords are required to make certain accommodations for tenants with disabilities who have service animals.

This means that landlords must allow service animals to live with the tenant. This extends to housing with a "no pets allowed" policy. Landlords are generally not allowed to request proof of disability. They can ask for verification that the animal is a trained service animal.

Property owners can also ask for documentation confirming the need for a service animal. However, they cannot charge extra fees or deposits for them.

Support Animals

Emotional support animals (ESAs), provide emotional or psychological support to people with mental or emotional health disabilities. While ESAs do not require training like service animals, they are also protected under the Fair Housing Act (FHA).

This means landlords are generally required to make reasonable accommodations for tenants with ESAs, even in properties with a "no pets" policy.

Landlords can request an ESA letter from a licensed healthcare professional to verify the tenant's need for a therapy animal.


Pets, especially dogs and cats, are kept for companionship and emotional support. They are not trained for any disability support tasks or needs.

They are not covered under the same legal protection as service animals or ESAs. Landlords have the right to enforce pet policies to ensure a positive environment for all tenants. These can include:

  • Pet deposits/fees
  • Size and Breed restrictions
  • Limit on number of pets

These policies must be clearly stated in the lease contract as well as the rights and responsibilities of both parties. If you don't want to handle inquiries about pets in your properties it's a good idea to hire property managers to ensure a positive tenant relationship remains.

Crafting a Pet Policy

When you're in charge of rental properties in Albuquerque, it's important to have a clear pet policy. This policy should explain the rules about service animals, emotional support animals, and regular pets.

Think about things like what documents are needed, extra fees, or deposits, and if there are limits on pet size or breed. If you need help with your pet policy, you can contact PMY4U. We offer different services and can explain your rights as a landlord in Albuquerque.