Ask attorney Brad is a feature with attorney Bradley S. Kraus and this week the question is about tenants wanting to know why there is a dog in a no-pet building. If you have a question for Brad, please feel out the form below.
Dear Attorney Brad:
First, thanks for an avenue to ask questions.
The situation is having a no-pet policy and a no-pet building, yet having to allow/accept tenants to acquire or move in with a support/care animal. My question, how do I respond to another tenant’s asking/telling me there is a pet in the building? My understanding is that this comes under the medical privacy law.
Thank you for your question. Your understanding is on point.
As a landlord, you cannot discuss another tenant’s accommodation requests or medical circumstances with other tenants. That would include the reasons why one tenant is allowed to have a dog (which wouldn’t be a pet, as assistance animals are not “pets”), even if the property doesn’t allow pets.
If other tenants begin asking questions, an appropriate answer is simply state that you appreciate them bringing this issue to your attention and that you will handle any issues in accordance with the law.
If they press further, you can state that you are not allowed to discuss other tenants’ circumstances. There is no need to go any further into the details because (a) you should not, and (b) you cannot.
Bradley S. Kraus is an attorney at Warren Allen LLP. His primary practice area is landlord/tenant law, but he also assists clients with various litigation matters, probate matters, real estate disputes, and family law matters. You can reach him at email@example.com or at 503-255-8795.