An Act To Amend the Laws Regarding Service Animal Housing Accommodations
Sec. 1. 5 MRSA §4553, sub-§9-E, ¶A, as enacted by PL 2011, c. 369, §2, is amended to read:
(1) An animal that has been determined necessary to mitigate the effects of a physical or mental disability by a physician, psychologist, physician's assistant, nurse practitioner or licensed social worker who is licensed by the state of residence of the person requesting an accommodation; or
(2) An animal individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a physical or mental disability, including, but not limited to, guiding individuals with impaired vision, alerting individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing to intruders or sounds, providing reasonable protection or rescue work, pulling a wheelchair or retrieving dropped items; and
Sec. 2. 5 MRSA §4581, sub-§4, ¶B, as enacted by PL 2011, c. 613, §10 and affected by §29, is amended to read:
(1) The rental of a one-family unit of a 2-family dwelling for 4 families or fewer, one unit of which is occupied by the owner; or
(2) The rental of not more than 4 rooms of a one-family dwelling that is occupied by the owner.
Sec. 3. 5 MRSA §4582-A, sub-§§2 and 3, as amended by PL 2011, c. 613, §13 and affected by §29, are further amended to read:
An owner, lessor, sublessor, managing agent or other person having the right to sell, rent, lease or manage a housing accommodation or any agent of these is not required to accommodate an individual who requests an accommodation for a service animal when that individual does not provide a letter pursuant to this subsection within a reasonable period of time; or
Sec. 4. 5 MRSA §4582-A, sub-§4 is enacted to read:
Sec. 5. 14 MRSA §6001, sub-§6 is enacted to read:
(1) The insurance policy for the premises to be canceled;
(2) Coverage for the service animal to be excluded under the insurance policy for the premises;
(3) The insurance policy for the premises not to be renewed; or
(4) The premises to be uninsurable by an insurer licensed to engage in the business of insurance in the State;
This bill amends the laws regarding housing accommodations for individuals using service animals. It exempts a landlord from having to comply with provisions concerning service animals when the landlord has requested from an individual seeking an accommodation a letter written by a licensed health care professional or social worker that sets out details about the service animal and why the individual seeking the accommodation needs the service animal if the landlord has not received that letter within a reasonable period of time. It creates a presumption within the laws regarding forcible entry and detainer that a landlord does not have to make an accommodation for a service animal when the service animal's owner fails to comply with a set of requirements, including insurance coverage, sanitation and public safety. It allows a landlord to charge higher rent and higher security deposits and to require renter's insurance for an individual with a service animal. It also changes the law concerning rentals of one-family units in 2-family dwellings exempted from the requirements of the Maine Human Rights Act by extending the exemption to rentals of one-family units in dwellings for 4 families or fewer.