Apartments for Cheap

Questions and Answers

Your Questions About Apartment Therapy

May 2, 2012

Susan asks…

does anybody know any great sites similar to “apartment therapy”?

I am redecorating my 4 year old daughters room and need some good trendy inspiration.Not tacky.

Administrator answers:

Home Depot,
Those Are Some Great Places!
Your Welcome

Chris asks…

Do you need permission to have a therapy dog in your apartment?

My daughter is physically and mentally disabled and we’re considering getting on a waiting list for a therapy dog. We are renters, though…can landlords say NO to a special services dog?

Administrator answers:

A therapy dog is one that is trained, tested, registered and insured so that it can be taken by the owner to hospitals and nursing homes to cheer up the residents there.

I think you mean “emotional support animal.”

Yes, you do need permission, in a way, to keep an emotional support animal in an apartment if it is either required by the rules that you notify the landlord, or if the landlord doesn’t ordinarily permit pets. However, it is different from asking a landlord if you can have a pet in that there is a federal law that requires landlords to make modifications to policies, including pet ownership policies IF:

1. It is necessary for the person with a disability
2. The person with a disability can establish a) that they are disabled and b) that the animal is necessary.
3. It would not cause the landlord an undue burden

Let’s say you wanted an emotional support animal that was a large pit bull. Your landlord objects because the presence of such an animal would prohibitively raise his liability insurance premiums. Your landlord agrees you can have a dog that is smaller or of a breed not deemed “dangerous” by his insurance carrier. Reasonableness is the key. That may mean compromise on both sides. Since it is possible to find an emotional support animal that is not a large pit bull and would meet the landlord’s requirements, and since getting the large pit bull would be an undue burden on the landlord, then yes, in this case he could probably refuse to allow you to have the pit bull.

So can the landlord say, “no?” Yes, in certain instances they can. But not just because they don’t like or want dogs in the apartment. They must have a legal reason for denying it if you can prove your child meets the legal definition of “disabled” and a doctor notifies the landlord the presence of the dog is necessary for the health of the person with a disability or as part of the treatment plan for the person with a disability.

The whole process starts with you making a written “Request for a Reasonable Accommodation.” Here are instructions:

You should make your request in writing, and insist that the landlord respond in writing. This way you have a clear record of who said what, and when. If it should become necessary to file a complaint with either HUD or the Department of Justice, you will need this documentation to prove your case.

But don’t assume it will come to that. If you are polite and business like in your request for a reasonable accommodation, the landlord will usually agree without a problem. If he doesn’t, it’s probably because he doesn’t understand the Fair Housing Amendments Act, but will once he consults his own attorney.

Note: not all housing falls under this federal law. If your landlord has fewer than four units or is a church, he may be exempt. Otherwise, he probably is not exempt and would be required to permit an ESA of some kind.

— edited to add —

There are precedents (court cases). See

Please note: I have seen court cases go both ways on ESA issues (about half win and about half lose). Those that lose usually do so because the person fails to convince the judge that the person is disabled or that the animal is necessary, but that is not always enough.

In general it is best to file a complaint with the human rights commission of your state or with Housing and Urban Development (HUD) rather than going to court. Instructions for filing a complaint are included in the first link I provided.

Donna asks…

Will apartment managers let you run a massage therapy business out of an apartment?

Me and my business partners thought it would be a really good idea to move out of where we live now and get two apartments one to work in and the other one to live in. We’re getting out of school soon and she already has all the business paper-work. We will be doing NO happy endings or anything sexual like that. Will apartment managers let us even do this if I call ask if they have 2 apartments and what were trying to do.

Administrator answers:

Only rarely will local codes allow any business that has retail clients in a residential area. You are better off looking for a home rental in a commercially zoned area of a mixed zoning. Don’t sign any lease until you are 100% certain that you can legally run the business you desire in that location.

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