One of my recent posts concerning service animals sparked a good question that deserves a response. Is it lawful under the Fair Housing Act (FHA) for management to advertise an apartment building or community as a “No Pets” property? And, if so, how does that fit in with a request for a service animal?
The answer is: Yes – management may restrict the presence of animals as pets in an apartment community. Under the FHA, it is not unlawful to advertise that pets are not welcome in a building or community. In making such a choice, management could legitimately be noting concern over excess damage or noise caused by animals. Such a decision, however, may well shrink the resident pool for your community as many potential renters love their animals.
So, while a “No Pets” policy is not necessarily a violation of the FHA – management at such a property must still ensure that reasonable accommodation requests for service animals by residents or applicants with disabilities are correctly evaluated and responded to. Let me repeat: even if a community is a “No Pets” property, management will still need to review and permit service animals in appropriate circumstances. Owners of service animals, of course, are not charged a pet fee, pet rent, or a pet deposit. Their animals should be welcomed.
A good question. And I hope this post might help avoid you needing to hire a lawyer like me.
Just A Thought.