WASHINGTON, D.C. – Statement from the National Multifamily Housing Council (NMHC) and the National Apartment Association (NAA) on the release of new emotional support animal guidance from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development:
NMHC and NAA are pleased that the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) released new guidance clarifying the responsibilities of both rental housing providers and renters when it comes to reasonable accommodation requests for emotional support animals (ESAs) in housing.
The apartment industry strongly supports the rights of persons with disabilities to make reasonable accommodation requests so they may have equal opportunity to use and enjoy a dwelling. However, a lack of clarity in the law currently governing emotional support animals allows for abuse and imposes an unfair burden on property owners. This undermines the intent of the Fair Housing Act to help those truly in need of an emotional support animal. NMHC and NAA believe the new guidance is a step in the right direction toward providing a clearer understanding of ESA rules.
Prior to the issuance of this new guidance, it was often difficult for owners and operators to determine legitimate requests from illegitimate ones. HUD’s guidance will help rental housing providers mitigate abuse, ensure better compliance with fair housing laws, and, vitally, improve the ability of owners and operators to protect the rights of disabled persons to live with their service animals and emotional support animals.