Assistance Animals

Phil Querin Q&A: Assistance Animals Vs. Comfort Animals

Question.I have a question about the Pet form. The term “assistance”  animal is used throughout. We are  in a disagreement with HUD over a comfort animal versus a “service” animal.  (one state document does use the term assistance and classes that as service in a footnote)  

 

Our defense is that the terms are very specific in the laws, or agency guidelines, both state and federal.   A landlord is specifically released from any responsibility to accept any animal that is not certified as “service.” HUD says they are not bound by another agency’s rules. Isn’t it important for our forms to be specific by using the term “service?”.

 

Dog Days of Summer: How to Handle Requests for Assistance Animals - 8 Rules

This week, the Coach shepherds in the dog days of summer with a lesson on disability-related requests for assistance animals focusing on the most common type—dogs. The law generally allows communities to set their own pet policies, but housing providers must grant reasonable accommodation requests to allow individuals with disabilities to keep assistance animals when necessary to allow them full use and enjoyment of their homes.

Assistance animals can go by many names—service dogs, therapy animals, emotional support animals—and there are different sets of rules on when, where, and what types of animals may be used by individuals with disabilities in various settings. For this lesson, we’ll focus on federal fair housing law—the primary law governing use of assistance animals in multifamily housing communities, and we’ll use the umbrella term—assistance animals—to cover all types of animals that provide assistance to individuals with disabilities.

In this lesson, the Coach explains who qualifies as an individual with a disability and when you must consider making exceptions to your pet policies as a reasonable accommodation so they may keep an assistance animal at the community. Then we’ll suggest eight rules to help you avoid the missteps that often lead to fair housing trouble. 

 

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