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Old 02-11-2011, 10:33 AM
 
460 posts, read 2,950,924 times
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I know that new jersey has a companion pet law so that people with disabilities like mental illnesss can have a pet in their apartment for emotional support + comfort.

I know someone who has just moved into an apartment and would keep their cat except the new landlord requires a one time fee of $500 plus $25 a mth to have a cat in the apartment. The apartment has wall to wall carpeting so maybe that's why there is a fee. My question is can this person who is documented as having a mental disability get those fees waived Because if it wasn't for those fees that she cannot afford she would keep the cat. Otherwise she is planning on getting rid of the cat asap which she does not want to do.

Does anyone have any thoughts on this? Thanks for any help.
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Old 02-11-2011, 10:47 AM
 
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AFAIK, the NJ law only overrides the restriction of a landlord not allowing the companion animal to reside on the premises, e.g. a "no pets policy". Even then, there must be a determined "necessity" for the animal to override the "no pets" or weight restriction policies. In terms of everything else, the renter must comply with the landlords rules and the landlord is well within their right to hold the renter responsible for any damage caused by the pet.

So, the landlord allows pets, but charges a fee, the right of the landlord to charge that fee is not trumped by the "necessity" of having the companion animal.

If it was a situation where the landlord did not allow pets, your friend would have a case as long as she could prove the necessity of having the pet. In the case of mental illness, that is very hard to do. The latest NJ court ruling on this summed up necessity as:

Quote:
(1) the extent to which the plaintiff’s ability to function is facilitated by the accommodation; (2) the training the animal received; and (3) whether, if the defendant permits some type of animals (e.g., below a certain weight), the individual’s need can be met by such an animal.
Unfortunately, in your friends case, she will need to pay or lose the cat. If this is a privately owned apartment perhaps she can reach an agreement with the landlord to pay a certain amount extra per month and avoid having to make the extra deposit.
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Old 02-13-2011, 12:57 AM
 
460 posts, read 2,950,924 times
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Thanks for the replies, they are very informative!

We wound up adopting the cat from this person today
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Old 02-13-2011, 04:38 AM
 
Location: Redneckville, NJ
6,307 posts, read 9,615,037 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tripod View Post
Thanks for the replies, they are very informative!

We wound up adopting the cat from this person today
How very nice of you.
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