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NJ Laws Regarding Service/Emotional Support Animals

In New Jersey and across the United States, service animals are protected under federal law, including the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Fair Housing Act (FHA). Here are key considerations for service animals in New Jersey real estate

  • Definition of Service Animals: According to the ADA, service animals are dogs individually trained to perform tasks or work for persons with disabilities. Some cases also include miniature horses as service animals.
  • Reasonable Accommodation: Individuals with disabilities can request a reasonable accommodation under the FHA to have a service animal, even in properties with a “no pets” policy. This applies to rental housing and common areas within residential complexes.
  • Verification and Documentation: Landlords may request documentation verifying a disability and the need for a service animal but cannot inquire about the nature of the disability. They cannot impose additional fees or deposits due to the presence of a service animal.
  • Tenant Responsibilities: Tenants are responsible for the supervision and care of their service animals, ensuring they do not cause damage or disturbances. They may be liable for any excessive property damage.
  • Housing vs. Public Accommodations: Rules for service animals differ between housing (FHA) and public accommodations (ADA), with housing regulations generally more accommodating towards service animals.
  • Emotional Support Animals (ESAs): While not covered under the ADA as service animals, ESAs may qualify for accommodation under the FHA with a letter from a licensed healthcare professional citing a mental health condition.

In summary, landlords in New Jersey must comply with federal laws that safeguard individuals with disabilities using service animals, ensuring reasonable accommodation and preventing discrimination. Understanding these regulations is crucial for both tenants and landlords to uphold fair treatment and adherence to the law.