HUD Releases Guidance on “Assistance Animals”

Posted On: January 29, 2020

Yesterday, HUD put out a release giving guidance to how housing managers can be sure they’re in compliance with Fair Housing while also doing their due diligence when seeking out credibility in reasonable accommodation requests. This is particularly in reference to “Assistance Animal” requests.

Nearly 3 months ago, HUD Secretary Carson sent a letter to the Federal Trade Commission requesting that they investigate and consider the credibility of websites that offer “Assistance Animal” Documentation for Reasonable Accommodation requests. (Carson’s letter to FTC).

This Fair Housing issue has been a recurring one. Many of the HUD charges of discrimination against a housing provider involve the refusal of a reasonable accommodation request to a person whose disability is not easily observable. And many of those reasonable accommodation disputes involve assistance animals.

Along with the press release, HUD put out an “Assistance Animal Notice” (FHEO Notice-2020-1). The purpose of the notice is to provide housing providers with a step-by-step guide for the process of assessing these types of accommodation requests while complying with the FHA. The notice covers everything from being able to classify service and assistance animals to providing information on the reliability of websites that offer third-party verification services. Read the Notice.

The notice has 5 parts starting on Page 5 with:

  1. Service Animals
  2. Analysis of reasonable accommodation requests for assistance animals other than service animals
  3. Criteria for assessing whether to grant requested accommodation
  4. Type of Animal
  5. General Considerations

Read the full Assistance Animal Notice: FHEO Notice-2020-1 (1/28/2020).

Read HUD’s official press release (1/28/2020).

Read Secretary Carson’s letter to FTC (11/6/2019).

Find this and more in our Resource Center.

disability discrimination


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