FACTS:                 

A tenant signed a lease and is going to move into a townhouse.  The tenant has a service dog.

The HOA wants to charge the tenant $75, which is charged to all pet owners to pay for DNA testing.  The HOA has DNA testing performed, so they can identify individual pet owners to enforce the HOA policy that residents must clean up after their pets.

ISSUE:                  

Can the HOA charge $75 to the tenant for the DNA testing of the dog?

ANSWER:                           

No.

DISCUSSION:

Reasonable Accommodations for Assistance Animals under the FHA and Section 504 states:

“An assistance animal is not a pet. It is an animal that works, provides assistance, or performs tasks 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.” Therefore, the tenant’s service animal is not considered a pet, and the HOA cannot impose the $75.00 fee. To do so would be an act of discrimination under the Fair Housing Act.