Successfully Navigating Animal Accommodations in the Housing


Jul 24,2024

PRESENTER(s): Jo Becker

1:00 PM ET | 12:00 PM CT | 10:00 AM PT | 90 Minutes
  • Webinar Instruction will be emailed on your registered email address 3 days prior to webinar
  •  | 
  • Web Download / e-Transcript will be shared in 7 working days from the date of webinar

The federal Fair Housing Act (FHA) affords individuals with disabilities protections; one of those rights is the ability to request a reasonable accommodation.

This is an area of fair housing law that has been confusing for everyone, including:

  • Terminology – "What is a ‘service animal?’  How’s that different from an ‘assistance animal?’  Do we have to accommodate ‘companion animals?’”
  • Best practices – “How do we go about verifying a requested accommodation?  What questions can we ask?  What can’t we ask?”
  • Who can act as a verifier – “And, oh BTW, do we have to accept online verification vendors as legit?”

In this course we’ll briefly review accommodations basics with an eye on animal accommodations specifically. We’ll demystify the differences between service animals, assistance animals, pets, and other critter classifications. We’ll talk about when and how requests may be made as well as the verification process and who can do the verifying. We’ll discuss what’s “reasonable” and legal reasons for denying along with common mistakes that could land you in legal jeopardy. 

And, then we’ll look at HUD’s 19-page memo issued on January 28th, 2020 and the guidance it provides. 

Learning Objectives:

  • Definition of disability
  • Trio of disability protections
  • Fundamental principles of disability-related accommodation under the federal Fair Housing Act, including:
  • Residents / prospects’ right to ask (how, when)
  • Your obligation and your rights
  • What’s “reasonable” and legal reasons for denying
  • What you should know about the verification process
  • Assistance animals as an accommodation:
  • The differences between “pets,” “service animals,” “assistance animals,” “companion animals,” “emotional support animals,” etc.
  • Again, what’s “reasonable” in terms of disability aid animals?
  • What’s okay vs. no-no’s regarding fees, deposits, animal rent, damage charges, etc.

 Who Will Benefit:

  • Leasing managers
  • On-site managers
  • Portfolio managers
  • Compliance officers
  • Resident services coordinators (in affordable housing communities)
  • Maintenance and service technicians
  • Community concierges (in high-end housing communities)
  • Independent landlords or small operators  

Coder Archives is registered with the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) as a sponsor of continuing professional education on the National Registry of CPE Sponsors. State boards of accountancy have final authority on the acceptance of individual courses for CPE credit. Complaints regarding registered sponsors may be submitted to the National Registry of CPE Sponsors through its website:

Speaker Profile:

A Realtor®-turned-fair housing advocate, Jo Becker was a licensed housing provider for 8 years before working for a statewide fair housing nonprofit for 10 years. There she trained over 10,000 individuals to consistently rave reviews. Jo focuses on training property managers, maintenance and service technicians, and private landlords, as well as sales agents. Jo has also studied emergency preparedness and disaster response with a focus on animals since 2005, and often combines the two to bring urgent, timely information about animals to the housing industry. Today Jo’s career is an unexpected alchemy of public speaking and writing on topics that blend lifelong passions and multiple careers. Regardless of topic or audience, Jo’s aim is to inform, empower, and inspire with historical and relatable context, understandable concepts, and bottom line considerations.

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