The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) recently announced the publication of guidance clarifying how housing providers can comply with the Fair Housing Act when assessing a person’s request to have an animal in housing to provide assistance because of a disability.
HUD says their notice will “…help housing providers in this process by offering a step-by-step set of best practices for complying with the Act when assessing accommodation requests involving animals and information that a person may need to provide about his or her disability-related need for the requested accommodation, including supporting information from a health care professional.”
The National Multifamily Housing Council (NMHC) and the National Apartment Association (NAA) issued a statement saying they believe HUD’s new guidance is a step in the right direction, but, they also offered some caution:
“The apartment industry strongly supports the rights of persons with disabilities to make reasonable accommodation requests so they may have equal opportunity to use and enjoy a dwelling. However, a lack of clarity in the law currently governing emotional support animals allows for abuse and imposes an unfair burden on property owners. This undermines the intent of the Fair Housing Act to help those truly in need of an emotional support animal…”