Following discussions with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) staff on the Department’s newly released guidance, Assessing a Person’s Request to Have an Animal as a Reasonable Accommodation Under the Fair Housing Act, NMHC and NAA submitted a letter reiterating our principle concerns and recommending that HUD issue clarifying supplemental guidance or other resources.
The release of the new guidance was welcome news. We appreciate HUD’s continued efforts to engage with stakeholders like NMHC and NAA and HUD’s work to clarify the responsibilities of both rental housing providers and renters related to reasonable accommodation requests for animals in housing. For years, we have urged HUD to issue new guidance as more clarity is urgently needed in the face of growing abuse of the law intended to protect the rights of disabled persons.
The Guidance takes important steps to address long-standing concerns in this area of fair housing, however, for apartment owners and operators, it leaves several pressing concerns unaddressed and raises additional questions. Such ambiguity in the guidance could enable greater abuse by online sellers of “verifications,” in some cases, could increase risk to employees and residents of animal-related injuries, and undermines housing providers’ ability to effectively evaluate reasonable accommodations requests.
Learn more about this and other fair housing issues, by visiting NMHC’s advocacy page.