RENT Magazine Q3 '22

Should a Pet-Free Property Share Information Regarding Assistance Animals?

Perhaps due to allergies or dislike of animals, many people specifically choose to live at pet-free properties. This can generate problems if a resident moves in with an assistance animal. It might be tempting for a leasing agent to share with a prospect who has issues with animals that the unit they are interested in wouldn’t work for them because a service animal lives next door. However, this would be incredibly careless. Not only could it be perceived as steering, but you would also be disclosing confidential information about one tenant to another. A better policy would be to ensure that every tenant and prospect knows that while being a pet- free property, there could be an assistance animal on the property at any time, as outlined in the Fair Housing Act. Of course, if a resident has a specific disability that would require them not to live near an animal, a reasonable accommodation request should be followed up on. Assistance animals will continue to bring new challenges to housing providers. Proper training is the best and most effective way to avoid possible fair housing complaints. Along with that, having clear policies and forms that conform to the Fair Housing Act will help any property manager to successfully navigate situations around assistance animals.


KATHELENE WILLIAMS Attorney and President The Fair Housing Institute

Kathi Williams is one of the founders of Fair Housing Institute. FHI is the accomplished vision of Kathi who views its educational courses as the best method housing providers can use to accomplish compliance and avoid litigation. Kathi is also a partner in the Law Firm of Williams Edelstein Tucker, P.C. providing defense and preventative representation for the housing industry in all civil rights matters. During the many decades Kathi has been advising her housing provider clients, she developed a unique understanding of the most effective methods of communicating fair housing best practices through training. Click here to watch Fair Housing Educational Videos.


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