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SERVICE ANIMAL VS. SUPPORT ANIMAL

On January 28, 2020, the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development issued new guidance on animals that individuals with disabilities may request as a reasonable accommodation.  The guidance is intended for housing providers, a term which includes apartments but also homeowners’ associations (HOAs).

The guidance clarifies the two types of assistance animals – (1) service animals; and (2) other animals that do work, perform tasks, provide assistance, and/or provide therapeutic emotional support for individuals with disabilities.  The guidance details the steps a housing provider should take to determine whether an individual is entitled to reasonable accommodations, including the steps to be taken in evaluating whether, in fact, the animal is a “service animal” covered under the law.  The guidance addresses documentation from the internet stating “in HUD’s experience, such documentation from the internet is not, by itself, sufficient to reliably establish that an individual has a non-observable disability or disability-related need for an assistance animal.”

For more information on this topic, please contact Jordan Price attorneys Brian Edlin or Matt Waters.

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