December 2, 2021

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Fair Housing Laws: Support Animals And Discrimination

2015-18aOn the FHA/HUD official site this week there was a press release announcing HUD charges against New York City landlords for alleged discriminatory housing practices involving tenants with support animals.

According to the press release HUDNo. 15-129, “The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced today that it is charging the owners and landlords of a high-rise complex in New York City with violating the Fair Housing Act by refusing to allow a resident with disabilities to have an emotional support animal. HUDs charge alleges that Friedman Residence, LLC (formerly called the Aurora), Common Ground Management Corporation, and The Actors Fund of America refused to accept that the resident required a dog to cope with the symptoms of his disability.”

The HUD press release adds that Fair Housing Act laws require housing providers to make reasonable accommodations in policies or practices, “when a person with a disability requires such accommodations, including granting waivers to ‘no-pet’ policies for persons who require assistance or support animals.” Furthermore, federal law prohibits the practice of making housing unavailable to any person because of a disability.

“It’s not a landlords role to determine what a resident with disabilities needs in order to perform lifes daily functions,” said Gustavo Velasquez, HUD Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity, who was quoted in the press release. He adds, “Landlords have an obligation to grant reasonable accommodations when they are needed and HUD will continue to work to ensure that they meet that obligation.”

What does this case have to do with FHA home loans? Fair Housing Act laws apply to most types of housing–including condos, town homes or other community property type purchases where the borrower may have to enter into contractual agreements with other home owners, condo owners, etc.

A homeowner’s or condo owner’s association agreement, for example, that prohibited support animals would be in the same kind of violation of Fair Housing laws. Borrowers who experience such discrimination are often the first line of defense against it–reporting it to HUD is the first step toward bringing such illegal practices to an end.

Do you work in residential real estate? You should know about the free tool offered by FHA.com. It’s designed especially for real estate websites–a widget that displays FHA loan limits for the counties serviced by those websites.

It is easy to spend a few seconds customizing the state, counties, and widget size for the tool; you can copy the code and paste it into your website with ease. Get yours today:

http://www.fha.com/fha_loan_limits_widget

Joe Wallace - Staff Writer

By Joe Wallace

October 19, 2015

Joe Wallace has been specializing in military and personal finance topics since 1995. His work has appeared on Air Force Television News, The Pentagon Channel, ABC and a variety of print and online publications. He is a 13-year Air Force veteran and a member of the Air Force Public Affairs Alumni Association. He was Managing editor for www.valoans.com for (8) years and is currently the Associate Editor for FHANewsblog.com.

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