Assistance Animals in Housing
NOTE: In early 2011 changes were announced to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) as it relates to service and companion animals. You should know that the ADA deals with public places not housing (save for rental / sales offices and model units and any other areas of a residential property that are made available to the general public). The Fair Housing Act (FHA) applies to housing. Changes to ADA have no affect whatsoever on the FHA. For further clarity on this issue, read HUD's 02/17/2011 Memo as well as an article by FHCO on the subject.
Following are relevant articles by the FHCO as well as several useful links. A few key things you should know, within the context of housing, about those with disabilities who require the aid of an animal:
- It doesn't matter what you call them (service animal, assistance animal, therapy animal, companion animal, aide animal, working animal, etc.)
- They are not pets and may not be treated as such (denied because "pets" aren't allowed, charged a fee / deposit / or rent specific to that assistance animal, etc.)
- Such animals are defined differently under fair housing laws than in the Americans with Disabilities Act. The Fair Housing Act applies in all housing transactions (renting, sales, homeowners associations, etc.).
- Generally, you may not restrict the breeds of assistance animals but in very narrow circumstances . See HUD's 06/12/2006 Memo on the subject.
If you still have fair housing questions, contact the Fair Housing
Hotline at 503/223-8197 Ext. 2 (Portland metro area) or 800/424-3247 Ext. 2 or at information@FHCO.org.
FHCO Articles on Aid Animals
Videos on Aid Animals
Information on Reasonable Accommodations and Modifications
Please visit www.FHCO.org/pdfs/RA-RMinfo.pdf for more information.
Sample request and verification forms can be found at www.FHCO.org/forms.htm. A guidebook for medical providers may be downloaded at www.FHCO.org/guidebooks.htm.
Related Resources Links
- Right to Emotional Support Animals in "No Pet" Housing, Judge David L. Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law Article
- Revised ADA Requirements: Service Animals, Dept. of Justice (2010)
- Best Friends for Life: Humane Housing for Animals and People
This booklet explains the federal laws that protect your right to keep pets in all federally-assisted housing, and if you are disabled, your right to an assistive animal in all types of rental housing.
Creature Comforts (a different perspective on assistance animals),
The New York Times
- Helper Parrots, Guide Horses Face Legal Challenges,
NPR Story & Audio File
- Assistance Monkeys, Ducks, Parrots, Pigs and Ducks ... Should the law protect them?
Culture Dish Article
- Special Needs Therapy and Service Animals
- The Delta Society
Read up on the therapeutic and beneficial value of animals on human health, especially for those with a physical or mental disability.
- Disabled Woman's Dog Has Its Day, Detroit Free Press Article
- Service Animal Law and Discrimination Facts
NOTE: This site does not deal with aid animals in housing specifically. The laws under ADA are different than those in housing under the FHA.
- The Guide Horse Foundation's Frequently Asked Miniature Horse Questions