HUD Offers Guidance to Sniff Out Fake Assistance Animal Requests

For the last couple of years I have seen so many so called “service animals” in places that pets do not belong, however the owner has a certificate that says Fido or Fi-Fi can go with them almost anyplace…..well here in 2020 this is about to change.  Hooray!!!!

The last time HUD released guidance on assistance animals was in 2013.  However HUD has released NEW guidance “Assessing a Person’s Request to Have an Animal as a Reasonable Accommodation Under the Fair Housing Act” on January 28, 2020 and replaces the previous guidance. It outlines what information a housing provider can request and consider when deciding to grant a reasonable accommodation.

Of course those with disabilities, assistance animals are an intricate part of their lives. However, in recent years there has been an increase in people abusing this area of the Fair Housing Act by saying their animal is an assistance animal when it truly is not. By releasing this guidance, HUD is attempting to address this fraud to ensure the proper accommodations are available to those who truly need them.

Property owners have struggled with how to enforce no-pet policies on their properties with the growing number of renter requests for assistance animals. That’s why the housing market is welcoming the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s newly released guidance and clarity on how to comply with the Fair Housing Act when receiving a request for an assistance animal.

News reports in recent years have grown accusing some renters of using dubious third parties over the internet to buy certifications or registrations that say they need an emotional support animal.  Under HUD’s new guidelines, released Tuesday, landlords and property managers now can require reliable verification of the tenant’s need for an assistance animal and can require documents other than an online certification.

A person with a disability may require the assistance of an animal to help do work, perform tasks, or provide therapeutic emotional support. The requested accommodation must be met if it affects that person’s major life activity and serves as a reasonable request. HUD’s new guidance offers housing providers step-by-step practices for complying with the Fair Housing Act when such requests are made.

Vince Malta, president of the National Association of REALTORS®, stated “This law exists to protect millions of Americans with disabilities who rely on the support of their assistance animals—like those living with depression, military veterans suffering from PTSD, and countless other deserving individuals.  But as NAR has stressed to HUD over recent months, these protections are jeopardized when a small minority seeks to exploit weaknesses in the system.”

NAR welcomed HUD’s new guidelines for moving to stop fraudulent use of assistance animals while protecting the rights of those who require one. The guidance also includes information on the type of animals that are usually appropriate as well as best practices for when the requested animal is not a typical one used in accommodation situations.

“Countless Americans rely on assistance animals to fill a void, providing individuals with disabilities with the means to have a home that supports their quality of life,” says HUD Secretary Ben Carson. “In my many discussions with housing providers and residents impacted by the need for assistance, I recognized the necessity for further clarity regarding support animals to provide peace of mind to individuals with disabilities while also taking into account the concerns of housing providers.”

Just a note from me – I know everyone loves their pets; however not everyone loves your pet. Shopping for a new home? Please leave your pet at home – you do not know if the present owner of home has allergies and the dander your pet leaves can cause harm to someone. Also, you should never bring your pet with you to someone’s home unless invited with that pet. It’s polite to ask first. Why? Well, when you bring your dog to my house and I won’t let him in because our cat doesn’t want him in… you’re going to have to leave and take your dog home… and you’ll miss the puck drop.

Do you have a need for commercial / industrial / retail buildings or land? Are you ready to buy or sell a home? Do you want 3 cash offers? We can help you with all of that… just call us at 702 SELL NOW or click on this link to my website http://www.702SellNow.com

Choose to have an amazing day….Jeff

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