Assistance Animal FAQs, Pt. 1: When to Charge—or Refund—a Pet Deposit

In this four-part series we’re featuring answers to some tricky questions attendees asked during our recent webinar, How to Handle Requests for Assistance Animals, presented by attorney Theresa L. Kitay.

Q: When tenants request an assistance animal, are they required to put a deposit down like everyone else who requests for a pet to be admitted to housing?

A: No, you can’t charge a deposit for an assistance animal. So don’t charge the deposit until you've made the decision that it's not an assistance animal.

Q: If someone has paid a pet deposit and later needs to reclassify their pet as a support animal, must we refund the pet deposit?

A: Generally, yes. If you decide to approve the animal as an assistance animal, you should refund the deposit.