Feds Affirm Right To Service Animals
Federal officials are putting housing providers on notice that they must accommodate people with disabilities who rely on service animals.
In a notice posted Tuesday, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development clarified the responsibilities of landlords under the Fair Housing Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Under the law, housing providers must provide reasonable accommodations to people with disabilities who rely on assistance animals. Further, pet restrictions cannot be used to limit or deny housing to individuals relying on such animals, the notice said.
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The Fair Housing Act — which governs nearly all types of housing — requires that trained service dogs as well as other assistance animals that perform tasks, provide emotional support or otherwise alleviate the impact of a person’s disability be accommodated.
Meanwhile, the ADA — which applies in addition to the housing act for certain types of residences such as public housing — has a more restrictive view of assistance animals, largely limited to trained service dogs, the notice said.
In cases where both laws apply, federal officials indicated that housing providers should first consider their obligations under the ADA.
“Disability-related complaints, including those that involve assistance animals, are the most common discrimination complaint we receive,” said John Trasviña, assistant secretary for fair housing and equal opportunity at HUD. “This notice will help housing providers better understand and meet their obligation to grant reasonable accommodations to people with disabilities that require assistance animals to fully use and enjoy their housing.”
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