Helpful Tips for Housing Protection
The Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination against persons with disabilities and requires housing providers to make reasonable accommodations for applicants or tenants who use a dog guide. These requirements apply to most public and private housing, including low-income housing subsidized by the federal government or rented through the use of Section 8 voucher assistance.
In some circumstances, the Act exempts owner-occupied buildings with no more than four units, single-family housing sold or rented without the use of a broker, and housing operated by organizations and private clubs that limit occupancy to members. Some state laws may offer wider protection for tenants with dog guides.
Housing providers are required to make an exception to a “no pets” rule to accommodate tenants or applicants who use dog guides. This exemption extends to public and common areas such as dining facilities, swimming pools, laundry rooms, and fitness centers. No extra fees or additional security deposits can be charged for a dog guide. However, if a dog guide causes damage to the unit or the common areas of the dwelling, the tenant may be asked to pay for damages if it is the housing provider’s policy to ask for compensation from non-disabled residents.
Housing providers may ask an applicant or tenant to provide documentation from a qualified professional that the individual has a disability and requires a service animal as a reasonable accommodation. Providers may not, however, ask for medical records, details about the applicant’s or tenant’s disability, or proof of the dog’s training.
Housing providers may not require tenants who use dog guides to sign a pet policy. However, tenants with dog guides must generally comply with state and local leash laws as well as rules concerning excessive noise and dog waste removal.
For more information, contact The Seeing Eye Advocacy Council toll-free at 1-800-539-4425 or email email@example.com.