The Fair Housing Act of 1968 prohibited discrimination concerning the sale, rental and financing of housing based on race, religion, national origin or sex. The Fair Housing Act stands as the final great legislative achievement of the civil rights era.
The Act protects people from discrimination when they are renting or buying a home, getting a mortgage, seeking housing assistance, or engaging in other housing-related activities.
The Act applies to residents of the United States only.
What Is an Emotional Support Animal?
An assistance animal is an animal that works, provides assistance, or performs tasks for the benefit of a person with a disability, or that provides emotional support that alleviates one or more identified effects of a person’s disability. An assistance animal is not a pet.
Obligations of Housing Providers
Individuals with a disability may request to keep an assistance animal as a reasonable accommodation to a housing provider’s pet restrictions.
Housing providers cannot refuse to make reasonable accommodations in rules, policies, practices, or services when such accommodations may be necessary to afford a person with a disability the equal opportunity to use and enjoy a dwelling.
The Fair Housing Act requires a housing provider to allow a reasonable accommodation involving an assistance animal in situations that meet all the following conditions:
- A request was made to the housing provider by or for a person with a disability
- The request was supported by reliable disability-related information, if the disability and the disability-related need for the animal were not apparent and the housing provider requested such information, and
- The housing provider has not demonstrated that:
- Granting the request would impose an undue financial and administrative burden on the housing provider
- The request would fundamentally alter the essential nature of the housing provider’s operations
- The specific assistance animal in question would pose a direct threat to the health or safety of others despite any other reasonable accommodations that could eliminate or reduce the threat
- The request would not result in significant physical damage to the property of others despite any other reasonable accommodations that could eliminate or reduce the physical damage
A reasonable accommodation request for an assistance animal may include, for example:
- A request to live with an assistance animal at a property where a housing provider has a no-pets policy or
- A request to waive a pet deposit, fee, or other rule as to an assistance animal.
Filing a Complaint
If you believe you have been unlawfully denied a reasonable accommodation for an assistance animal or have otherwise experienced discrimination in housing, you can file a complaint with FHEO.