Can a Landlord Turn Down a Service Dog

It’s against the law for a landlord to discriminate against someone with a disability, which includes denying them housing because they have a service animal. Service animals are specially trained to assist people with disabilities, and they are allowed in most public places and private businesses, including rental housing. Landlords cannot charge extra fees or deposits for service animals, and they cannot evict tenants because they have a service animal. If a landlord refuses to rent to someone because they have a service animal, that person can file a complaint with the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

Fair Housing Act (FHA)

The Fair Housing Act (FHA) prohibits discrimination in housing based on several protected characteristics, including disability.

Service Animals Under FHA

Service animals, which may include dogs, are considered reasonable accommodations under the FHA for individuals with disabilities.

Service Animal Distinguished from Pets

  • Service animals are not considered pets.
  • Landlords cannot charge pet fees, deposits, or rent for service animals.

Landlord’s Obligations Related to Service Animals

  • Cannot refuse to rent to an individual because they have a disability or use a service animal.
  • Must make reasonable accommodations for service animals, including allowing them in all areas where tenants are allowed to go.
  • Cannot ask about the disability or require proof of a disability.
  • Can ask two questions:
    • Is the animal a service animal required because of a disability?
    • What task(s) does the animal perform?

Examples of Reasonable Accommodations

  • Allowing service animals in common areas.
  • Waiving pet fees or deposits.
  • Providing accessible housing units.

Landlord’s Rights

  • Can request that a tenant remove a service animal that poses a direct threat to the health and safety of others.
  • Can request that a tenant remove a service animal that is not housebroken.
Examples of Service Animals and Tasks
Service AnimalTask
Guide dogGuiding individuals who are blind or visually impaired
Hearing dogAlerting individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing to sounds
Psychiatric service dogProviding emotional support to individuals with mental disabilities

Undue Hardship

A landlord may turn down a service dog if the dog would cause an undue hardship. Undue hardship means that the dog would cause significant difficulty or expense to the landlord. For example, a landlord may turn down a service dog if:

  • The dog would damage the landlord’s property.
  • The dog would cause a nuisance to other tenants.
  • The dog would pose a health or safety risk.

The landlord must be able to show that the undue hardship is directly related to the disability of the person with the disability. The landlord cannot simply refuse to allow a service dog because they do not like dogs or because they have a no-pets policy.

If a landlord refuses to allow a service dog, the person with the disability may file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). HUD can investigate the complaint and take action against the landlord, including ordering the landlord to allow the service dog.

Factors Considered in Determining Undue Hardship

The following factors are considered in determining whether a service dog would cause an undue hardship:

  • The nature and severity of the disability of the person with the disability.
  • The type of service dog and the tasks that the dog is trained to perform.
  • The size and type of the landlord’s property.
  • The number of other tenants in the property.
  • The potential impact of the service dog on the health, safety, and property of the landlord and other tenants.

The landlord must consider all of these factors and weigh them against each other in making a decision about whether to allow a service dog.

Table of Factors Considered in Determining Undue Hardship

FactorDescription
Nature and severity of disabilityThe landlord must consider the severity of the disability and how the service dog will assist with the disability.
Type of service dogThe landlord must consider the type of service dog and the tasks that it is trained to perform.
Size and type of propertyThe landlord must consider the size and type of property and how the service dog will impact the property.
Number of other tenantsThe landlord must consider the number of other tenants in the property and how the service dog will impact them.
Potential impact on health, safety, and propertyThe landlord must consider the potential impact of the service dog on the health, safety, and property of the landlord and other tenants.

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Hey folks, that’s all I got for you today. I hope this article has been helpful and informative. Remember, knowledge is power, and being informed about your rights as a tenant and a service animal owner is crucial. If you have any further questions or concerns, don’t hesitate to reach out to reputable sources like housing authorities or animal welfare organizations. Keep in mind that laws and regulations can vary from state to state, so do your own research to ensure you’re well-informed about the specific laws in your area. Stay tuned for more informative and engaging articles like this one, and be sure to visit us again soon! Thanks for reading!