What are assistance animals? What are my obligations as a housing provider?

Roommates with a disability may request to keep an assistance animal as a reasonable accommodation to a housing provider’s pet restrictions.

Housing providers cannot refuse to make reasonable accommodations in rules, policies, practices, or services when such accommodations may be necessary to afford a person with a disability the equal opportunity to use and enjoy a dwelling.

Under the FHA, tenants and their emotional support animals are protected from the following:

  • Landlords cannot require the emotional support animal to have had any specific training.
  • Landlords cannot refuse housing to the tenant even if their property insurance doesn’t cover emotional support animals.
  • Landlords cannot ask tenants to pay any extra rent or deposits for having the emotional support animal, though it should be noted that they can require payment for any damage done by the animal.

Tenants with an ESA can legally apply at anytime, even after lease signing, and property managers/ owners will receive their submitted information via the Alcove portal.  

For further information, please find out more from the Department of
Housing and Urban Development: link here.