Can I have my service dog or emotional support animal in a “no pet policy” home? Yes, you are protected by the ADA Act that requires all landlords to provide reasonable accommodations to your service dog or emotional support animal. The Fair Housing Act (FHA) protects a person with a disability from discrimination in obtaining housing. Under this law, a landlord or homeowner’s association must provide reasonable accommodation to people with disabilities so that they have an equal opportunity to enjoy and use a dwelling.
Emotional support animals that do not qualify as service animals under the ADA may nevertheless qualify as reasonable accommodations under the FHA. In cases when a person with a disability uses a service animal or an emotional support animal, a reasonable accommodation may include waiving a no-pet rule or a pet deposit. This animal is not considered a pet. A landlord or homeowner’s association may not ask a housing applicant about the existence, nature, and extent of his or her disability.
However, an individual with a disability who requests a reasonable accommodation may be asked to provide documentation so that the landlord or homeowner’s association can properly review the accommodation request. They can ask a person to certify, in writing, (1) that the tenant or a member of his or her family is a person with a disability; (2) the need for the animal to assist the person with that specific disability; and (3) that the animal actually assists the person with a disability.
It is important to keep in mind that the ADA may apply in the housing context as well, for example with student housing. Where the ADA applies, requiring documentation or certification would not be permitted with regard to an animal that qualifies as a “service animal.” This is straight from the HUD guidelines click here to view. So how do Fair Housing laws apply to real life situations? Here is an example: Situation 1John has been diagnosed with severe depression and is disabled as defined by the Fair Housing Act.
His doctor prescribes John a dog to help alleviate some of his symptoms. John asks his landlord if he can have a dog as a reasonable accommodation for his disability. His landlord says yes, but tells John he’ll need to pay a $250 pet deposit and must provide proof that the animal is trained. Question: Did John’s landlord correctly handle John’s request under the Fair Housing Act? What if John wanted a cat or a ferret instead? Answer: No, John’s landlord did not handle his request correctly.
The landlord cannot charge John a pet deposit for his animal because it is not a pet, but rather a service/companion animal required for disability. Further, the landlord cannot ask for proof that the animal is trained. Lastly, service/companion animals do not have to be just dogs; they can also be other animals, such as cats or ferrets.See Also: Central Park Animal Hospital
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Register My Service Animal - Emotional Support Animal and Service Animal Registrations. Eliminate pet restricted housing. No more pet rent or pet deposits