August 25, 2011

Protecting Disabled Tenants: Service Animals and Fair Housing

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This post is also available in: Spanish

Moving into an apartment with a no-pet policy may seem like a no-brainer if you don’t have any pets and plan to keep it that way. But what happens when circumstances leave you, the tenant, in need of a service animal?

Under the Fair Housing Act, you’re protected – and the Department of Housing and Urban Development will step in to make sure of it. Yesterday, HUD issued a press release announcing it has charged a New York co-op and two of its employees with discrimination after they denied a disabled man his request for reasonable accommodation. Though he provided letters from both his doctor and the state’s department of Health and Mental Hygiene to verify a service animal was indeed necessary, the co-op denied the man’s request, stopped accepting rent payments, and even tried to evict him. Now, a judge may order the co-op to pay damages if a hearing determines discrimination took place.

Remember: The Fair Housing Act is in place to protect tenants from discrimination. Property owners must make reasonable accommodations so that anyone with a disability enjoys the equal chance to live comfortably. HUD’s enforcement of the Fair Housing Act is part of our broader mission to promote inclusive communities free from prejudice. Read the full press release here.

5 Responses to Protecting Disabled Tenants: Service Animals and Fair Housing

  1. After four go arounds with Region IX FHEO, and being betrayed each time, I wonder whether HUD’s FHEO is capable of solving anything but the most obvious cases of discrimination. Region IX FHEO seems to work against victims of discrimination rather than for them. They seem to always work for the respondents. Who pays their salaries?

    This led my sister and I to file a Section 504 civil rights complaint against HUD’s FHEO and some of its officers in San Francisco and in Washington DC. The ineptitude of Region IX FHEO, perhaps even its corruption, leads me to ask:

    Is HUD’s FHEO worth the taxpayer’s money? Why not axe the entire agency?

    • I live in an apartment complex in Kernersville N.C. My question to you is, what about the breed of the dog? I have a 1/2 Blue Pit & 1/2 Labrador service dog (I’m epileptic) and submitted the necessary paperwork with a signed Dr.’s notice back in November of 2009. Now, only 1 week ago, I was told that my dog, because of the Pit, constitutes a “viscous breed” and that I will not be able to keep him in my apartment.

  2. Hi Carl,
    Thanks for your comment. You can contact the housing discrimination hotline at 1-800-669-9777 (Voice) or 1-800-927-9275(TTY). They will be able to assist you. I hope this information helps.

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