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What Qualifies You to Have a Service/Assistance Animal in Your Rental Property?


Being honest on your rental paperwork is crucially important. In fact, as of July 1, 2018, South Dakota laws allow landlords to evict or fine tenants who misrepresent their need for a service animal when renting. That's why you should only attempt to qualify for a service animal in your rental unit if you meet the state's ascribed criteria.

So what qualifies a person to have a service/assistance animal in a rental property in South Dakota?

'Readily Apparent' Disability or Health Condition

If you experience a form of disability or a health-related condition that is "readily apparent," as the new statewide law enacted by Gov. Dennis Daugaard states, you qualify for a service animal exception to rental property rules and fees. You aren't responsible for supplying any additional documentation to your landlord if this is the case.

Documented Need

If you have a condition that is not visually discernible, you must provide a property manager with documentation from a doctor or therapist that affirms a therapeutic relationship of your need for a service or emotional support (assistance) animal. There was no previous South Dakota law preventing tenants from submitting fake or false documentation in order to receive a service/assistance animal exception and evade potential fees. This is no longer the case, as property managers are allowed to verify follow up on documentation and charge a tenant a fine or evict said tenant if documentation is discovered to be forged or fabricated.

Qualifying Animal

Previous law did not discern between a "service or emotional support animal" and a "trained animal," which has now been updated. Documentation of an animal's status as a qualified service or emotional support animal needs to be identified in the provided documentation when a disability or health condition isn't, as outlined above, "readily apparent."

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Topics: Renting

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