HUD Issues New Guidance on Assessing Requests to Have Animals as a Reasonable Accommodation Under the FHA

HUD has provided guidance on how landlords can assess a request to have an animal as an accommodation in a rental property.

On January 28, 2020, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) issued a new guidance memo for housing providers titled, Assessing a Person’s Request to Have an Animal as a Reasonable Accommodation Under the Fair Housing Act (HUD 2020 Memo). The memo is intended to give housing providers and persons with a disability a set of best practices for addressing requests for reasonable accommodations to keep animals in rental housing.

The HUD 2020 Memo should be read together with the HUD/Department of Justice (DOJ) Joint Statement on Reasonable Accommodation Under the Fair Housing Act, a memo issued in 2004 (2004 Memo). The HUD 2020 Memo replaces HUD’s prior guidance (memo FHEO-2013-01) on housing providers’ obligations regarding service animals and assistance animals.

Resources

It’s a good idea for all landlords to familiarize themselves with the HUD 2020 Memo, as well as the 2004 Memo.

For further explanation, landlord’s can also read the Fact Sheet on HUD’s Assistance Animals Notice, as well as the article, What Should Landlords Do When Asked to Accommodate an Assistance, Service, or Support Animal?. Landlords should also consider consulting with a qualified landlord-tenant attorney to address any concerns or questions about reasonable accommodations and fair housing laws.