Landlords: Can a Pit Bull Be a Service Dog?

Attention Landlords: You make the call--Renters with service animals on a restrictive or "aggressive" breed list, is it allowed?

A service pit bull with owner who is in a wheelchair

Allowing pets in a rental property is often a debatable topic among rental property owners. Determining if you want to allow pets, what type of pets to allow, and what to charge for pet fees are just a few questions that may arise. But what happens when you choose not to allow pets and an applicant has a service animal? What if that service animal is considered an “aggressive breed” or on a restrictive breed list for your community?

Do You Have to Rent to Someone Who Has a Pit Bull As a Service Dog?

Dogs in a mock line up

Answer: Yes

According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Fair Housing Act protects those with disabilities in need of service animals and/or emotional support animals. Because of this federal law, an animal considered to be an aggressive breed, such as a Pit Bull, is protected and must be allowed into a rental property if it is determined to be a service animal, despite any local laws that prohibit the breed. Fair housing laws can be a bit tricky in this regard. If a disability is not obvious, a landlord cannot ask what the disability is, but can ask for documentation that there is a disability with a need for a service or emotional support animal. If the animal is strictly a pet, the landlord has every right to deny any animal or breed of animal.  

Pit Bull in service vest

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