FACTS:

A landlord wishes to rent his unit to a handicapped tenant who uses an assistance dog.

ISSUE:

May the landlord charge a pet deposit for the assistance dog?

ANSWER:

No.

DISCUSSION:

Charging a pet deposit would likely be an act of discrimination under the Fair Housing Act. Discrimination under the act includes “a refusal to make reasonable accommodations in rules, policies, practices, or services, when such accommodations may be necessary to afford [a person with a disability] equal opportunity to use and enjoy a dwelling.” 42 U.S.C. § 3604(f)(3)(B). So long as the requested accommodation does not constitute an undue financial or administrative burden for the landlord, or fundamentally alter the nature of the housing, the landlord must provide the accommodation.

Arizona REALTOR® Magazine – February 2012