Why Dogs and Doctors Can Help You Get Past Pet Restrictions

by Isaac Benmergui, Esq on November 22, 2013

Don’t you just hate those stipulations in rental agreements stating that “dogs aren’t allowed.” Or maybe you’re not a dog person, but a cat person – more often than not, if dogs aren’t allowed, cats aren’t as well. So you’re out of luck there, too. Maybe you’re one of the few out there who don’t mind the fact that you’re facing a rental agreement insisting legally on no pets allowed, but just in case you have a dog or cat you consider family, there are legal ways to ensure that you can keep your pet with you.

  • Serious Depressionpets
  • Heart Disease
  • Chronic Pain


Believe it or not, these are three possibilities for you to obtain what’s called a “pet waiver request.” And believe it or not – landlords oftentimes will have to abide by them! They may not like the fact that you have Fido or Muffins spreading dog hair or scratching the furniture, but legally if a doctor’s note says that your health will greatly improve with a pet, that landlord must approve it. That’s not to say, though, that a landlord has to. There’s no mandate that the person should be forced to. However, it certainly helps the possibility of you getting by that restriction unscathed. Moreover, you have room for a lot of argument here.

One instance, in particular, might be a situation where a particular tenant has Type 2 diabetes, and having a dog could be good exercise for the patient along with an increase in positive moods. A simple doctor’s note could make it as clear as crystal. Sometimes you might have a therapist diagnosing that a dog would be beneficial for, say, a widow experiencing anxiety over a dead husband. That letter alone would be enough to practically back a landlord in the corner until he or she says, “yes, you can move in with Butch if you like.”

Be reasonable with this, though. I have to say: it’s easy to “fake” an ailment where a valued and loyal pet can contribute to the “treatment.” Sadly, many landlords are faced with tough decisions, and those specifically requiring service dogs, such as the vision-impaired, end up falling by the wayside of that pack of waivers. So, again, I stress: we’ve got to be reasonable with this.

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