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 12400
ESA - by , March 25, 2011
5/ 5stars
Outstanding, fast professional work
Device emotional dog - by , March 25, 2011
5/ 5stars
Awesome…Thank You
Quick and easy - by , March 25, 2011
5/ 5stars
Super easy to receive the letter for the apartment I am trying to move in to. Doctor was quick to call us within 2 days.
- by , March 25, 2011
5/ 5stars
It's kind of awkward, the Velcro Strap shoul be on the outside rather than ib the inside when size adjustments are needed. It's still a good Vest. Alk other items, including the Dr Letter
Awesome & quick service! - by , March 25, 2011
5/ 5stars
Every time I need to renew my ESA renters letter the service is always quick and easy.
Good - by , March 25, 2011
5/ 5stars
Good that I was finally able to register my dog
Very nice bundle! - by , March 25, 2011
5/ 5stars
Very good experience, and good quality of items. Fast shipping!
Delayed - by , March 25, 2011
2/ 2stars
I don't kown I have not got it yet
Excellent product - by , March 25, 2011
5/ 5stars
All of the items were as described, unfortunately, appears I bought the wrong size
Not received items at this time - by , March 25, 2011
5/ 5stars
Have not received the items at this time. So I real don't know
ID - yes, Housing Letter - no - by , March 25, 2011
2/ 2stars
Hi! I’ve bought a letter-housing cost approximately $150, ESA ID card was as a bonus. For now I have only ID card, nobody called me for consultation, I didn’t receive any letter. But ID card I got very quickly .
quick process - by , March 25, 2011
5/ 5stars
I haven't received the vest yet but the speed in whichthe order was processed and sent out was amazing. It's been shipped and all of this happened in a span of a day. Totally amazed. I already received the digital copies
Great service - by , March 25, 2011
5/ 5stars
Fast and easy registration for my dog.
Support animal - by , March 25, 2011
5/ 5stars
Nice and easy 👍
Service dog ID card - by , March 25, 2011
5/ 5stars
They were very nice to me At service Dog. The card I received is very good. It is well made and very easily fits in my wallet. All the information is very clear. And I love the picture of my beloved pet Emma. Thank you
Service dog card - by , March 25, 2011
5/ 5stars
I was able to give it to my apartment complex
REGISTRATION - by , March 25, 2011
1/ 1stars
IM STILL WAITING FOR MY ORDER?
Quick, easy, affordable - by , March 25, 2011
5/ 5stars
Great experience, easy to use system and shipped quickly. Was everything I needed to be able to legally take my dog to work with me.
Excellent products - by , March 25, 2011
5/ 5stars
Now the products are high quality the service is excellent and the website makes it really easy to navigate
Never received!!! - by , March 25, 2011
1/ 1stars
I wouldn't know because I never received it. May have been a scam.