The Dos And Donts Of Service Animals

The Dos And Donts Of Service Animals

The do’s and don’ts of service animals

By Margy Grant

July 4, 2016 — When a buyer turns out to be a cash buyer, that's usually a plus in a transaction. At least, that's what one Realtor thought when she started working with a buyer who had just completed a tour in the Army. The buyer had been injured in the line of duty and planned to live in the condo with Sam, his German Shepherd service animal.

The buyer's offer, accepted by the seller, included a condominium rider that made the agreement contingent on the buyer receiving approval from the condominium association before closing. The buyer submitted an application and included the disclosure that Sam would live with him. The condominium association denied Sam's application in writing, saying the association did not allow pets larger than 25 pounds. Both the seller and the buyer were upset and asked the Realtor if this was allowable.

The Realtor reminded both the seller and buyer that her real estate training did not extend to legal matters. However, she had recently attended a class in which the instructor stated that denying housing to someone as a result of the presence of a service animal is a violation of the federal Fair Housing laws.

According to federal law, it is discrimination for a landlord or an entity such as a condominium association to refuse "to make reasonable accommodations in rules, policies, practices, or services, when such accommodations may be necessary to afford such person equal opportunity to use and enjoy a dwelling."

The buyer retained an attorney, who asked the condominium association to reconsider its decision based on the Fair Housing laws. The association agreed, but only if the buyer agreed to pay a large pet deposit to cover any impact the large dog might have on the premises. The attorney reminded the condominium association that under Fair Housing laws, a housing provider cannot require service animals to have any specific training, apply a blanket weight or breed restriction, require pet insurance or charge a pet deposit. The condominium association reconsidered and the buyer purchased the unit.

If you are ever involved in a situation like this, remember that while you are not a housing provider, if you represent one and intentionally participate in unlawful discrimination, you are also liable under the Fair Housing laws. If landlords ask you about exceptions to this law, refer them to an attorney.

For more information on service animals and the specific statute reference, please visit "Accommodations for Service Animals in Housing" on NAR's website.

Margy Grant is Vice President and General Counsel for Florida Realtors

Victor DeFrisco Headshot
Phone: 561-951-3759
Dated: July 4th 2016
Views: 229
About Victor: ...

Property Search

RSS Feed

View our latest blog posts in your RSS reader. Click here to access. RSS

Search Blog

Recent Blogs

Sep 18 2018 48981 2 - 34 Reasons Why I Love Real Estate
Sep 18 2018 48981 1 -
Sep 17 2018 49313 2 - VERY LITTLE IS NEEDED TO HAVE A
Sep 17 2018 49313 1 - Real estate is my

Saved Properties

This is a list of your favorite properties. We will email you if a property is reduced or leaves the market.

Click 'Save' to add a property to this list.

Register / Login

New & returning visitors please enter your information to login.

By clicking 'register' you are agreeing to our terms of use & giving us expressed written consent to contact you.

Questions? Comments? Complaints?

This message will go directly to the head of our team.

Location & Address

Exit Realty Premier Elite
8961 Hypoluxo Road
Lake Worth, FL

Other Locations