Do I have to disclose my service animal when applying for housing?

This past month my roommate and I have been looking at apartments and since I have a service animal, I have been attaching the paperwork up front when I turn in our application. However, we have had trouble being approved and I have a nagging feeling it is because of my dog (even though I know the LL is legally required to let me have my dog live with me), and they are giving me bogus excuses for why we are not approved. Some places say it is because someone else got their app in first, others say our credit wasn't high enough, even more different companies say our income is not high enough but credit is great. What I'm wondering is if I am legally required to disclose I have a service animal while I am applying to the apartment, because in the application I don't have to say I have a pet (my dog is a medical alert and is NOT a "pet" by legal guidelines). I am just very frustrated at his point because I can't prove they are discriminating because I have a dog, but really do think that is the reason we are being denied.

6 Answers

  • 7 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    A service dog is considered the same thing as having a wheel chair or walker.

    You do not have to disclose it; your landlord isn't even allowed to ask.

    You can apply and move in, then if the landlord complains, show evidence it's a service dog. If the landlord complains further, show the landlord this:

    According to the Fair Housing Amendments Act of 1988, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act protect the right of people with disabilities to keep emotional support animals, even when a landlord’s policy explicitly prohibits pets. Because emotional support and service animals are not “pets,” but rather are considered to be more like assistive aids such as wheelchairs, the law will generally require the landlord to make an exception to its “no pet” policy so that a tenant with a disability can fully use and enjoy his or her dwelling. In most housing complexes, so long as the tenant has a letter or prescription from an appropriate professional, such as a therapist or physician, and meets the definition of a person with a disability, he or she is entitled to a reasonable accommodation that would allow an emotional support animal in the apartment.*

    *Information found on

    Additionally, a landlord CAN NOT ask about your physical or emotional disability as they must treat all perspective tenants the same! So, if asked, you DO NOT need to disclose your need for a Service or Emotional Support Dog.

    The ADA or American Disabilities Act protects people with all types of disabilities and does not limit the type of disability where a service dog can be used. If you have a condition which makes it difficult to perform, or limits your function in life activities (where other people don’t have difficulty), you may qualify. You DO NOT need to have a doctor’s excuse or formal diagnosis and you may train your own service animal.

  • 4 years ago

    Service Animal Application

  • 7 years ago

    First thing you need to figure out is which laws apply. FHA applies to most but not all housing there are a few exceptions. ADA applies to some housing also. 504 of Rehab Act also applies to some housing.

    HUD and the DoJ released a joint statement in April 2013 with FAQ regarding Assistance Animals and housing.

    12. When and how should an individual request an accommodation?

    "... An applicant or resident is not entitled to receive a reasonable accommodation unless she requests one. However, the Fair Housing Act does not require that a request be made in a particular manner or at a particular time. ...."

    So you have to get an accommodation before moving in with your service dog (unless the specific housing is covered by ADA) but you do not need to request it until your application has been approved. It goes on to say best way to make a request and what they can ask for to determine if you need the accommodation. Read the entire release.

    HUD simultaneously released a more detailed notice concerning all 3 laws, Assistance Animals, and housing.

    There are very few reasons an assistance animal accommodation can be denied

    "(1) the specific assistance animal in question poses a direct

    threat to the health or safety of others that cannot be reduced or eliminated by another reasonable accommodation, or (2) the specific assistance animal in question would cause substantial physical damage to the property of others that cannot be reduced or eliminated by another reasonable accommodation."

    "not on mere speculation or fear about the types of harm or damage an animal may cause and not on evidence about harm or damage that other animals have caused"

    Also no pet restrictions apply to assistance animals.

    "Breed, size, and weight limitations may not be applied to an

    assistance animal."

    "may not require applicants and residents to pay a deposit for an assistance animal"

    "Questions regarding this notice may be directed to the HUD Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity, Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Enforcement and Programs, telephone 202-619-8046."

    I strongly recommend you read both of these links in their entirety as there is way too much you need to know for me to put here.

    Source(s): Service Dog Handler
  • Kini
    Lv 7
    7 years ago

    It is possible they dont want dogs there but cannot discriminate by refusing to rent to you, so they have to find a way around that. Make sure your state requires landlords to accept service dogs. If a place takes pets they will take service dogs. Before you do the application, ask that question. I can understand the landlord's point of view if they dont like animals. It is being forced on them because of the law.

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  • 7 years ago

    You have to disclose. The landlord is not actually required to take the dog, they are required to make reasonable accommodation. While the dog is normally "reasonable" there are situations where it is not. At least all of the service trainers make sure there will be no breed restrictions.

    It is more likely you are being denied because of the roommate situation. Those frequently end badly and many landlords will not rent to roommates. I am one of them..

  • 4 years ago

    Find what motivates your dog. Some dogs do anything for food. Some dogs do anything for Toys. Some do anything for a good petting. Some do anything for only one type of food, like cheese, or hotdog. Some only have interest in training for 5 minutes at a time, and others can go for an hour. Figure out what your dog is willing to work for, and then work with her in sessions that are no longer than she can tolerate. Learn how to train your dog properly

    Sign up for a dog obedience training class. It will not train your dog. It will give you training on how you can train your dog. Most people understand the idea of training, but there is a right and a wrong way to do it, and there is good and bad technique. Timing and consistency is very important, and it helps to have feedback of someone watching you who can help you improve your technique to get more efficient results with your dog.

    However, she may be somewhat anxious around other dogs, sort of like the shy kid on the playground. She will benefit from continuing what you are doing as far as asking her to sit before entering, but there are more things along those lines that will help her to calmly go in and out of the dog park. She may also benefit from going in short bursts, or only when fewer dogs are present, or avoiding times when other dogs that make her nervous are present. Maybe she just plays loud - my brother's dog is this way - or maybe she is a dogpark bully - sorry it is possible. But more likely she is just a little anxious around new dogs and she wants to play but just doesn't quite know how to do that and still feel comfortable. Don't be surprised if your dog does not actually like the dog park, and maybe she would get more enjoyment and less stress out of simply going for a good walk somewhere else.

    A wagging tail does not mean that your dog is happy or even comfortable with the situation. It means your dog is emotionally aroused. This could be a happy arousal, or it could be a nervous arousal, or it could be an aggressive arousal. Go youtube it, there are plenty of videos of 'vicious' dogs who are throwing a very aggressive fit of barking and snarling while their tail is wagging vigorously. Even police dogs who are not let off the leash to chase down a suspect can be lunging and barking and snarling, and their tails are still going.

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