Fair Housing and Service Animals

April 28, 2022by melissad0

With Fair Housing comes a reasonable accommodation for service animals. This year, we celebrate the 54th anniversary of the Fair Housing Act, the landmark civil rights law signed by President Lyndon B. Johnson on April 11, 1968, that made discrimination in housing transactions unlawful. The Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination in housing because of race, color, national origin, religion, sex (including gender identity and sexual orientation), disability, and familial status. The Act is intended to provide for fair housing throughout the country.

Service and Assistive Animals

An assistance animal is an animal that works, provides assistance, or performs tasks for the benefit of a person with a disability, or that provides emotional support that alleviates one or more identified effects of a person’s disability. To be clear, an assistance animal is not a pet. A deposit nor pet rent can be collected.

  • Assistive Animals
    • Service Animals
    • Guide Animals
    • Alert Animals
    • Companion/therapy/emotional support/psychiatric service animals
  • Can be many types of animals, yes, pigs, horses etc.
How it works?

The Fair Housing Act requires a housing provider to allow a reasonable accommodation involving an assistance animal in situations that meet all the following conditions:

  • Individuals with a disability may request to keep an assistance animal as a reasonable accommodation to a housing provider’s pet restrictions.
  • Housing providers cannot refuse to make reasonable accommodations:
  • A request was made to the housing provider by or for a person with a disability
  • The request was supported by reliable disability-related information, if the disability and the disability-related need for the animal were not apparent and the housing provider requested such information.
  • And, The housing provider has not demonstrated that:
    • Granting the request would impose an undue financial and administrative burden on the housing provider
    • The request would fundamentally alter the essential nature of the housing provider’s operations
    • The specific assistance animal in question would pose a direct threat to the health or safety of others despite any other reasonable accommodations that could eliminate or reduce the threat
    • The request would not result in significant physical damage to the property of others despite any other reasonable accommodations that could eliminate or reduce the physical damage
  • Examples
    • A request to live with an assistance animal at a property where a housing provider has a no-pets policy or
    • A request to waive a pet deposit, fee, or other rule as to an assistance animal.

This blog series is designed to alert you to key issues affecting Fair Housing. Bottom Line. Please – treat ALL people the same. If you experience interaction with someone in a protected class and are unsure what to do, it is OK to say I DON’T KNOW! And please call an attorney or property manager for help.

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