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Property Management Blog

Best Tips on Service Animals & Companion Animals in Salem, OR – What You Need to Know

Mendell Gosnell - Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Today we’re talking a little bit about service animals and companion animals and what you need to do when it comes to renting your property to tenants who have those types of animals. The law does make a slight distinction between a service animal and a companion animal, but in regards to accepting them at your rentals, you don’t’ have many options. You have to allow them, even if you don’t allow pets.


A pet is defined as a domestic or tamed animal or a bird that is kept for companionship and pleasure and treated with affection. That’s something completely different than a service or a companion animal.

Service and Companion Animals

Service animals are not considered pets in the eyes of the law. A service animal is usually a dog, and it’s trained for a specific task. Those animals must be permitted in public places, including your property. A companion animal is not a pet either. There are no species or training requirements, but they must also be allowed in rental property and public spaces.

American with Disabilities Act

According to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), service animals are trained to assist people with disabilities in performing tasks. This might be a Seeing Eye dog guiding the blind or a dog that leads someone with a hearing impairment. Someone with a disability is defined as a person with a mental or physical handicap, or a record of impairment that doesn’t allow them to manage everyday tasks on their own. Drawing distinctions between service and companion animals is not always easy. At any time, an animal can be a service animal. The Department of Housing, or HUD, has defined service animals as assisting individuals with disabilities in some identifiable way that allows them to make a
more effective use of their housing. According to HUD, a companion animal can be considered a service animal. For tenants and landlords, there are rights and responsibilities regarding pets, service animals and companion animals. You need to know what those are when you’re renting out a home. Making wise choices will keep you out of legal trouble. If you need help establishing a policy that addresses service and companion animals, please contact us at Centurion Real Estate Management. We’ll make sure you have a happy investing experience.

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