Texas REALTOR® Magazine Minute – April 2017
Even if you have a no-pets policy at your rental property, some tenants might be able to keep assistance animals under fair-housing laws. What’s an assistance animal? It’s an animal that works, provides assistance, or performs task for the benefit of a person with a disability, or provides emotional support that alleviates one or more identified symptoms or effects of a person’s disability. What kind of training must an assistance animal have? None is required by the Fair Housing Act. Can a property owner require proof that the tenant needs an assistance animal? Yes. Once a request for a reasonable accommodation is made, if the tenant’s disability or the need for the accommodation is not readily apparent or known, the Fair Housing Act allows a property owner to request reliable documentation of a disability or disability-related need for an assistance animal. This documentation may be from a physician, psychiatrist, social worker, or other mental health professional. Can the property owner require an additional fee for allowing an assistance animal? No. However, the tenant would still be legally responsible for any damage caused by the animal. Get information about how fair housing laws affect all aspects of real estate in the April issue of Texas REALTOR® magazine. Find it at texasrealestate.com/magazine.