Tips to Make Sure You Are Not Violating Fair Housing Laws with Service Animals in Charlotte
Cheryl Warren - Monday, May 29, 2017
April is Fair Housing month, and we thought we’d bring you some Charlotte landlord advice and information regarding an aspect of Fair Housing: service and companion animals. We are seeing a lot more request for service and companion animals, and I’m sure you may be as well.
Service Animals are Not Pets
You have to be careful as a landlord, especially when you are determining whether you will or will not allow a service or companion animal. According to the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), service animals are not considered pets. You may have to ask if your tenant has a disability and if that disability-related need for a service animal exists.
Determining a Disability
So, if you have a tenant who has a readily apparent disability; maybe they are visually impaired and you know that because you see a walking stick or something that leads you to believe there is a visual impairment, and they tell you they need a Seeing Eye dog, you cannot ask for documentation to prove that they need the animal. However, if that disability is not readily apparent, you can ask for documentation for the need or the disability-related need for a service animal.
The biggest thing to remember is that these animals are not pets. They are there to help with the quality of life for a tenant with a disability. You should be mindful and aware of this fact. There is information on HUD’s website about service and companion animals if you’re not familiar with the laws.
Vicious Dog Breeds
One other thing to consider is that your tenant might request to have a vicious dog breed or an animal that may be inherently dangerous for your community or your property. If this happens, you can consider not allowing it, but talk to an attorney first.
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