MHCO Columns

Fair Housing Pit Falls - Charging a Pet Deposit for an Assistance Animal

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Manufactured Housing Communities of Oregon


Charging a Pet Deposit for an Assistance AnimalThe assistance animal SNAFU isn’t the only common mistake made in the context of reasonable accommodation no-pets policy exemptions.

    Spot the Discrimination Mistake

    Same scenario as last week’s article, but now assume that the landlord allows the tenant to keep her assistance animal stray cat, provided that she pays the pet deposit that all tenants who want to keep a pet in their apartment must pay.

    Pitfall: If allowing a tenant’s assistance animal is required as a reasonable accommodation, you can’t ask the tenant to provide a pet deposit, extra insurance, or indemnity for keeping the animal.

    Example: A Minnesota apartment community paid $35,000 to settle claims of placing undue conditions on a tenant’s request for a service animal by requiring her to:

    • Buy an insurance policy covering the dog and listing the landlord as a co-insured;
    • Make the dog wear a special emotional support animal vest at all times outside the apartment; and
    • Sign an “indemnification and hold harmless waiver” covering the landlord against any harm the dog caused [United States v. Brooklyn Park 73rd Leased Housing Assoc., LLC (D. Minn., Jan. 22, 2016)].