Reasonable Accommodations Under the Fair Housing Act

Family hugging dog

There is no such thing as animal-free, multi-family housing. The Fair Housing Act (FHA), Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, and the Americans with Disabilities Act—all of which are federal laws—as well as state-level fair housing laws protect the right of people with disabilities to keep assistance and emotional-support animals in housing, even when a landlord's policy explicitly prohibits pets. For persons with disabilities, their assistive animal may be their eyes, ears, or source of emotional comfort, among other support functions. The presence of an assistive animal in housing may be critical to their everyday activities.

Discrimination under the FHA includes "a refusal to make reasonable accommodations in rules, policies, practices, or services, when such accommodations may be necessary to afford [a person with a disability] an equal opportunity to use and enjoy a dwelling." As long as the requested accommodation does not constitute an undue financial or administrative burden for the landlord, or fundamentally alter the nature of the housing, the landlord must provide the accommodation.

The links below provide more information, including statements from the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Department of Justice regarding the administration of tenant and landlord rights under the law.

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