If the tenant requires a therapy animal or service animal to assist the tenant in dealing with a physical or mental disability, the Fair Housing Act will allow the tenant to have that animal in the property. The Fair Housing Act requires that the landlord allow the tenant to keep the therapy or service animal as a reasonable accommodation for the disability. The landlord is not allowed to treat the tenant differently because of the animal, as that differential treatment would be discrimination based on the tenant’s disability. The landlord may not refuse to rent to the tenant and may not charge the tenant any additional rent, fee, or deposit because of the animal.
If the tenant requires a therapy or service animal, the tenant should inform the landlord before moving in, and should be prepared to verify that the animal is necessary to treat the tenant’s disability. The tenant should be prepared to provide support from the medical or mental health professional who is treating the tenant’s disability. In addition, the tenant remains responsible to pay for any damages caused by the animal. If the tenant comes to need a therapy or services animal after they move into the unit, they should give a special accommodation form and proper documentation before moving the animal into the unit. A sample letter requesting an accommodation for a disability can be found here.