Due to a disability, a tenant requests an assistance animal as a reasonable accommodation. Can the property owner require the tenant to provide documentation evidencing the need for an assistance animal?

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  • Due to a disability, a tenant requests an assistance animal as a reasonable accommodation. Can the property owner require the tenant to provide documentation evidencing the need for an assistance animal?

It depends. One the request has been made, if the tenant’s disability is known or readily apparent to the property owner, but the need for the accommodation (the assistance animal) is not readily apparent or known, the provider may request only information that is necessary to evaluate the disability-related need for the accommodation. However, if a person’s disability is obvious, or otherwise known to the provider, and if the need for the requested accommodation is also readily apparent or known, then the provider may not request any additional information about the requester’s disability or the disability-related need for the accommodation.

Again, once the request has been made, if the tenant’s disability is not obvious, a property owner may request information necessary to verify that the person meets the federal Fair Housing Act’s definition of “disability” (i.e. has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities), describes the needed accommodation, and shows the relationship between the tenant’s disability and the need for the requested accommodation.

Source: TAR

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