A Disability-Related Companion Dog?

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Your community has a no-pets policy, but a maintenance worker reports that a resident has a pet dog in her unit.

When questioned, she says she's disabled and the dog is her companion animal but refuses to provide documentation that she has a disability-related need to keep the dog.

Soon after informing her that she must remove the dog, you receive notice that she filed a HUD complaint, accusing your community of disability discrimination.

The Question: What Should You Do?

1. Nothing, it's obvious that her complaint is merely a ploy to get around your no-pets policy.

2. Send her a warning that she's in violation of your community rules and that she must remove the dog immediately or face eviction proceedings.

3. Contact your attorney to determine how you should respond to the complaint.

The Correct Answer: C

If you receive notice of a formal fair housing complaint filed against your community, it's best to contact a fair housing attorney to oversee your investigation, advise you on the proper response, and communicate with the HUD investigator on your behalf.

Wrong Answers Explained:

A. The case won't go away if you ignore the notice and ensuing HUD investigation.

B. The FHA considers retaliation to be a separate offense, which means that you could be found liable for damages or penalties for retaliation, even if the initial discrimination claim is ultimately found to be groundless.

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