Fair Housing laws Service Animals And Emotional Support Animals In Multi-Family Housing
Fair Housing Laws Federal laws Civil Rights Act of 1866 Civil Rights Act of 1968, Title VIII Fair Housing Amendments Act of 1988 (FHAA) State law Iowa Civil Rights Act, Chapter 216 of the Iowa Code and Chapter 161 of the Iowa Admin Code Local (city or county) ordinances may also apply
Fair Housing Laws Federal Law: The Federal Civil Rights Act of 1866 prohibits discrimination in housing because of race or color. The Civil Rights Act of 1968, Title VII, and the Fair Housing Amendments Act of 1989 prohibit discrimination in housing because of race, color, sex, religion, national origin, disability, and familial status.
Fair Housing Laws State Law: Iowa Civil Rights Act (Iowa Code 216) Prohibits housing discrimination based on race, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, national origin, mental & physical disability, and familial status (presence of children in the home).
Iowa City Human Rights Commission Iowa City HRC is one of 26 local civil rights commissions located throughout Iowa. Iowa City HRC receives its authority from the Iowa City Human Rights Ordinance, to investigate, conciliate and determine remedies for discrimination in the areas of credit, employment, housing and public accommodations and education. Bases Covered: race, color, creed, religion, national origin, age, sex, marital status, sexual orientation, family status, presence or absence of dependents, disability or public assistance as a source of income.
Working Together to Fight Discrimination ICRC has a “Work-Share” agreement with the U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development, a.k.a. HUD to process and investigate claims of housing discrimination. Iowa City also has a work share agreement; may file with ICHRC or with ICRC if the incident occurred within Iowa City’s limits.
Points of Clarification There is a difference between the laws regarding the use of service animals in housing versus the use of service animals in public accommodations. Recent DOJ amendments to its ADA regulations DO NOT affect reasonable accommodation requests under the FHA and Sec. 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1974. The new ADA rules defines “service animal” as any dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability, including a physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual, or other mental disability. The new DOJ rules specify that “the provision of emotional support, well-being, comfort, or companionship do not constitute work or tasks for the purposes of this definition.” (under ADA, Public Accommodations)
What does this mean? It means that trained dogs are the only species of animals that may qualify as service animals under the ADA (there is a separate provision regarding miniature horses) and Emotional support animals are expressly precluded from qualifying as service animals under the ADA* as it relates to public accommodations. *Source: U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development Memo, Feb. 17, 2011.
Fair Housing Act definition: a)A physical or mental impairment which substantially limits one or more of a person’s major life activities, b)A record of having such an impairment, or c)Being regarded as having such an impairment Physical or mental impairment: any physiological disorder or condition of a major body system or any mental or psychological disorder. What is a disability?
Major Life Activities Examples of major life activities include: Caring for oneself Performing manual tasks Seeing, hearing, eating Walking Communicating, interacting with others
THREE CLASSES OF ANIMALS: Service Animals: Animals individually trained to perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a physical, intellectual, and/or mental disability Emotional Support Animals: Provides therapeutic benefit to a person with a mental or psychiatric disability Pets: Animals living with owners for the purposes of love, affection, and/or company What is a service animal?
Examples Service Animals: –Vision Impairment: guiding individuals with impaired vision –Physical Impairment: Providing protection or rescue work Pulling a wheelchair Fetching dropped items
Service Animals and Emotional Support Animals ARE NOT Pets Important to remember: Animals needed to assist, support or provide service for persons with disabilities are not pets and therefore not subject to certain conditions of pet ownership.
Service Animals and Emotional Support Animals ARE NOT Pets Usual conditions of tenancy: ‘No pet’ policy Payment of a pet deposit Pet rent Limitations on the number of animals in the unit Prohibitions on individual animals based on size and weight Since service and emotional support animals are not pets, they are not subject to the above conditions.
Reasonable Accommodations If an applicant, a tenant, or someone associated with a tenant, i.e. a family member or friend, has a disability, he/she may request what is called a reasonable accommodation. A reasonable accommodation is a change in rules, policies, practices or services which allows the tenant to have an equal opportunity to use and enjoy the residential dwelling.
Reasonable Accommodations The request for an accommodation: –Tenants can request an accommodation orally or in writing –“When making the request, the tenant should explain what type of accommodations he/she is requesting and the relationship between the requested accommodation and the disability.” What is the accommodation? How does the accommodation help the disability?
Reasonable Accommodations The request: –Do not ask the tenant: “What is the disability?” –“A landlord may request only information that is necessary to evaluate the disability-related need for the accommodation.” –Do ask the tenant: “What are the effects of the disability, and how does the [requested accommodation] help it?”
Reasonable Accommodations The request: –If the disability is not obvious, a landlord may ask for further information about the disability that is: Necessary to verify the person meets the definition of a person with a disability; Describes the needed accommodation; and, Shows the relationship between the accommodation and the person’s disability.
Reasonable Accommodations A doctor’s note containing the information is generally adequate, though not necessary Tenant is not required to show detailed medical records concerning the disability For emotional support animals: documentation from a physician, psychiatrist, social worker, or other mental health professional that the animal provides support that alleviates at least one of the identified effects of the disability is adequate.
Reasonable Accommodations When can a landlord refuse a reasonable accommodation? –A landlord can refuse a reasonable accommodation if it will: Be an undue financial or administrative burden on the landlord Fundamentally alter the nature of the provider’s operations Results in substantial physical damage to the property of others unless the threat can be eliminated or significantly reduced by alternative means Poses a direct threat to the health or safety of others Also remember: tenant does not have to use any “magic words” when requesting an accommodation!
What can’t a landlord do? A landlord cannot flat out refuse an accommodation request. A landlord can’t ask a tenant to pay a deposit, fee or surcharge in exchange for having a service or support animal even if they require such fees from pet owners. A landlord can’t require the service or support animal to have any specific training or certification. A landlord can’t require the service or emotional support animal to wear or carry any special collar, harness, vest, emblem or other means of identifying it as such.
What should a landlord do? A landlord should engage in an interactive process to determine the needs of the tenant and whether the accommodation can be made. A landlord should respond as promptly as possible to the request; an extended amount of time can be seen as a refusal to accommodate.
What can a landlord do? Landlords can request proof of current vaccination and/or license for the service and/ or emotional support animal. Landlords can expect the tenant to conform to the rules of the complex, i.e. picking up animal waste, maintaining the unit to the extent expected of every other tenant. Landlords may charge for actual damages caused to the premises by the emotional support and/or service animal. –Cannot charge pet deposit for potential damages but can charge for damage actually done to the property.
Questions, Comments, Concerns IOWA CIVIL RIGHTS COMMISSION GRIMES STATE OFFICE BUILDING 400 EAST 14 TH STREET DES MOINES, IA 50319 515-281-4121 OR 800-457-4416 http://www.state.ia.us/government/crc/index.html US DEPARTMENT OF HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT OFFICE OF FAIR HOUSING & EQUAL OPPORTUNITY 400 STATE AVENUE GATEWAY TOWER II KANSAS CITY, KS 66101 913-551-6958 OR 800-743-5323 www.HUD.gov