USSDR Blog Banner

Housing Laws for Service & Emotional Support Animals

Housing

Housing issues with a service animal typically fall under one of three federal laws:

Each of these laws apply in different kinds of housing, and not all housing is covered by even one of them. This is a complex area of disability law which will require consultation with a qualified attorney to truly understand how the laws apply in a specific situation. This article is meant as just a general overview of disability housing laws, and not a complete accounting for every possible type or housing or housing issue.

The Fair Housing Amendments Act of 1988 extended the protections of Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968 (the Fair Housing Act) to people with disabilities. This is the law that applies to most forms of housing, including most rental housing and most condominiums. Exceptions to this law include buildings with four or fewer units where the landlord lives in one of the units, and (b) private owners who do not own more than three single family houses, do not use real estate brokers or agents, and do not use discriminatory advertisements.

Protection under the FHAA is contingent upon:
(1) Tenant has a disability (case law suggests the landlord may be permitted to require proof of disability);
(2) Landlord/Housing Authority knows about disability;
(3) Reasonable accommodation may be necessary to afford tenant an equal opportunity to use and enjoy his or her dwelling (again, case law suggests the landlord may be permitted to require proof of need and proof of training for a service dog); and
(4) Reasonable accommodation would not constitute an undue burden or fundamental alteration.

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 applies to programs that receive federal assistance, such as public or subsidized housing. Landlords who accept only Section 8 rental assistance are not subject to Section 504.

Protection under Section 504 is contingent upon:
(1) Tenant has a disability;
(2) Tenant was excluded from and denied participation in services, programs, and activities;
(3) Exclusion was because of disability; and
(4) Reasonable accommodation would not constitute an undue burden or fundamental alteration.

Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 applies to housing owned by state or local government, or its instrumentalities, regardless of federal financial assistance. This would include local housing agencies, such as a public housing authority.

Protection under Title II is contingent upon:
(1) Tenant has a disability;
(2) Tenant was excluded from and denied participation in services, programs, and activities;
(3) Exclusion was because of disability; and
(4) Reasonable accommodation would not constitute an undue burden or fundamental alteration.

Note that under the ADA, emotional support animals are not generally considered a reasonable accommodation as they are excluded by lack of training from 28 CFR 36.104, the definition of “service animal,” under the Americans with Disabilities Act:
“Service animal means any guide dog, signal dog, or other animal individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability, including, but not limited to, guiding individuals with impaired vision, alerting individuals with impaired hearing to intruders or sounds, providing minimal protection or rescue work, pulling awheelchair[sic], or fetching dropped items.”

Some general guidelines on how disability law tends to deal with service animal issues (remember to consult a qualified attorney to learn whether these guidelines would apply in any given specific situation)

In general:

  1. A landlord cannot require a pet deposit for a service animal. However, the owner of the service animal is liable for any damages caused by the animal above and beyond the normal wear and tear a human tenant might reasonably cause. This includes teeth marks on trim, carpet torn by a dog’s digging, and carpet soiled by dog waste or vomit.
  2. A landlord might or might not be permitted to require a pet deposit for an emotional support animal.
  3. A landlord is permitted to require some sort of proof of disability as a condition of accommodation, and some sort of proof the animal in question is a trained service animal, though generally he cannot require certification per se.
  4. A landlord is permitted to exclude an animal, including a bona fide service animal, if the presence of the animal causes a fundamental alteration of the goods and services offered to other tenants. For example, a dog that nuisance barks keeping neighbors awake at night causes a fundamental alteration and may be banned from the premises, though the landlord should permit the human tenant to remain without the dog if the tenant so chooses.
  5. A landlord is permitted to exclude an animal, including a bona fide service animal, if the animal poses a direct threat. For example, an animal permitted to deposit fecal material in a common area where that material is not immediately cleaned, poses a health threat to people using that common area, particularly when the common area is where children might play on the ground. If the tenant is not able to clean their dog’s waste area themselves, it falls on the tenant, not the landlord, to secure the services of someone to do the cleaning for them.

A tenant’s first step in dealing with a housing issue should be to write the landlord a letter requesting a reasonable accommodation. If the landlord fails to respond to the written request or refuses the accommodation, the tenant may choose to pursue the matter by filing a complaint with HUD or the U.S. Department of Justice.

Filing a Complaint
Housing discrimination complaints can be filed with Housing and Urban Development:http://portal.hud.gov/portal/page/portal/HUD/topics/housing_discrimination
Complaints may be filed online, by phone (1 (800) 669-9777), or by mail using a downloaded form.

Species Restrictions
While only dogs are considered service animals under the ADA (and some accommodations may be required for the use of some miniature horses), the Fair Housing Act has no such restriction. While the ADA does not include emotional support animals, the FHA does. Some housing providers will be subject to the ADA, such as government owned housing. Some will be subject to the FHA, such as most landlords with more than four units. Some will be subject to both, and some to neither. Wherever the FHA applies, common domestic species are included as assistance animals, but where the ADA applies, only dogs are. Where both apply the FHA multiple species policy applies.

http://servicedogcentral.org/content/files/HUD%20FHEO%20Memo%202-17-2011…

Breed Restrictions

A landlord is permitted to refuse accommodation for a service animal based on breed if allowing the animal would constitute an undue burden. An example might be if the landlord’s insurance carrier would drop his coverage if an animal of a restricted breed were kept on the premises.

FREE REGISTRATION FORM

After Submission The Button Will Say Wait (Can take 1-2 Mins For Approval) Once Redirected Check Email For ID#

Handler info:

Handler address:

Account information:

Dog information:

Dog image:

Image Size Should Be Greater Than 250x250.
file-upload
Dog Image (Must be greater then 250x250)
Preloader
X
SERVICE DOG ID CARD USA Service Animal Registration Your Service Dog ID card will include our convenient QR Code for a quick scan link to our registry lookup. By simply entering your dog\'s registration number your official registered profile will be accessible for quick verification in the event the validity of your service dog is ever questioned. 2054
$29.99
Product Image
5 8587
Excellent Products and Service - by , March 25, 2011
5/ 5stars
10/10 would recommend
Great prompt service - by , March 25, 2011
5/ 5stars
Excellent follow up and my phone session with the licensed professional was very pleasant and through. All with in a day.
Thank you. My mom needs this animal - by , March 25, 2011
5/ 5stars
The site was very easy to use and Mom had a stroke and needs a smart, trained animal to help her.
Easy to do and quick delivery! - by , March 25, 2011
5/ 5stars
This was very easy to set up, get approved and in my hands quickly. Thank you!!
Good service - by , March 25, 2011
5/ 5stars
Fast response Hope that this letter will help me to take my dog with me
Excellent service! - by , March 25, 2011
5/ 5stars
Quick and easy, thank you
ESA Card - by , March 25, 2011
1/ 1stars
Have not received the item even though i paid for express shipping. Very Unsatisfied.
Great service - by , March 25, 2011
5/ 5stars
Item not yet received.
ESA - by , March 25, 2011
5/ 5stars
Experience was trouble free
Emotional support animal registry - by , March 25, 2011
5/ 5stars
Very easy application followed by a thoughtful interview process.
- by , March 25, 2011
5/ 5stars
Great ! Love ir !
Great!! - by , March 25, 2011
5/ 5stars
Everything was fast and easy!!!
Purchasing Housing/Travel Renewal - by , March 25, 2011
3/ 3stars
I was helped through the email process. The lady helping me did a great job through email. Online was a bit confusing for renewal. I couldn't find on the website where I could renew. It would be helpful if there was a way to do that when you pull up your membership to be able to go to renewal. I have fully appreciated this service. It has been a tremendous help in my travels that would have been difficult without being able to take my service animal.
Excellent - by , March 25, 2011
5/ 5stars
So easy for registration and product purchase was simple.
Service Dog ID Card - by , March 25, 2011
5/ 5stars
Very prompt Haven't had the chance to use it yet but I am so thrilled to know my life support (Buster) will be able to accompany me wherever I go. Gives me great peace of mind
Great! - by , March 25, 2011
5/ 5stars
It was quick and easy!
Light mesh vest - by , March 25, 2011
4/ 4stars
I have a medium sized Australian Shepherd and the best it’s a little snug on her and she’s not that oversized.The vest size is running a little small.
Excellent service and the basic registration package is nice - by , March 25, 2011
5/ 5stars
Amazing experience and quick delivery. All stuff are of the good quality.
Great - by , March 25, 2011
5/ 5stars
I have to exchange the body wrap to an x-small. The xx-small didn’t fit. But that was my fault. The cards, tags, and all other products great. Thank you
Best ever - by , March 25, 2011
5/ 5stars
Love the customer service.