In recent years landlords have seen a significant increase in the number of requests for reasonable accommodations for emotional support animals and service animals (ESAs) from applicants and tenants. These requests include allowing animals in properties that restrict pets, granting exceptions to existing policies on breeds type or weight restrictions, or to avoid paying pet deposits or fees. In addition, many applicants and tenants would provide a variety of documentation even pet IDs, often obtained online, to support their requests. This made it extremely difficult for landlords, property managers, and realtors to determine which requests were legitimate and which ones weren’t.
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) recently issued new guidance to clarify the rights and responsibilities of both landlords and tenants concerning reasonable accommodation requests for emotional support animals (ESAs). This guidance has been a long time coming as many landlords, property managers, and realtors have been unsure of best practices when analyzing and responding to a reasonable accommodation request from a tenant.
Hopefully this guidance will help clarify the rules and regulations surroundings ESAs. You can find the HUD Guidance by clicking the link below: