Trending Issues Webinar: Companion Animals and Source of Income Protection

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1 Trending Issues Webinar: Companion Animals and Source of Income Protection NAA Independent Rental Owners Committee June 9, 2015 Presenters: Nicole Upano & Greg Brown NAA Government Affairs

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4 Reasonable Accommodation Requests for Companion Animals

5 Relevant Federal Laws & Regulations The Fair Housing Act (FHA) Applies to virtually all types of housing with few very limited exceptions. Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 Applies to housing providers who receive federal financial assistance from HUD. U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development s (HUD) Regulations and Guidance Provides interpretation of statutes.

6 HUD Guidance After receiving such a request, the housing provider must consider the following: 1) Does the person seeking to use and live with the animal have a disability i.e., a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities? 2) Does the person making the request have a disabilityrelated need for an assistance animal? In other words, does the animal work, provide assistance, perform tasks or services for the benefit of a person with a disability, or provide emotional support that alleviates one or more of the identified symptoms or effects of a person s existing disability?

7 HUD Guidance Limited Exceptions: Doing so would impose an undue financial and administrative burden or would fundamentally alter the nature of the housing provider s services. The specific assistance animal in question poses a direct threat to health or safety of others that cannot be reduced or eliminated by another reasonable accommodation, or The specific assistance animal in question would cause substantial physical damage to the property of others that cannot be reduced or eliminated by another reasonable accommodation.

8 Concerns for Landlords Loose Documentation Requirements Requests for Multiple Animals Inability to Decline Dangerous Breeds Mandated Community-wide Access for all ESAs.

9 Loose Documentation Requirements

10 Certified Emotional Support Animals Tenants use online resources to unnecessarily certify or register their ESAs, OR Certifications are used to attempt to intimidate uninformed landlords.

11 Bona Fide Verification Verification for ESA is from medical or mental health professional that does not have a bona fide relationship with the requesting party.

12 Requests for Multiple Animals A tenant may request or require more than one assistance animal. For example, a veteran may need a service animal for mobility purposes and a companion animal for emotional support. Note that each animal serves a particular, distinct purpose related to the person s disabilities. For the purposes of documentation, remember: what is the nexus between the tenant s disability and the disability-related need for each animal?

13 Dangerous Breeds Breed, size and weight limitations may not be applied to an assistance animal. A determination that an assistance animal poses a direct threat must be based on an individualized assessment that relies on objective evidence about the specific animal s actual conduct not on mere speculation or fear - HUD Guidance

14 Access to all Areas of the Community

15 Now what?

16 NAA Emotional Support Animal Working Group

17 Outlook

18 Source of Income Protection

19 SOI Defined Source of income is defined as legal, verifiable income paid directly to the tenant or his or her representative (such as a payee). Some examples of income types are Social Security, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), AFDC, unemployment insurance, veteran s benefits, pensions, and wages. - Fair Housing Law Project

20 SOI Protection & Section 8 It shall be an unlawful discriminatory practice for any person, on the basis of the race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age, marital status, personal appearance, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, familial status, family responsibilities, disability, matriculation, political affiliation, source of income, status as a victim of an intrafamily offense, or place of residence or business of any individual, to "The monetary assistance provided to an owner of a housing accommodation under section 8 of the United States Housing Act of either directly or through a tenant, shall be considered a source of income under this section. - Washington, DC Code (a), (e)

21 Concerns for Landlords Inspection Delays Operational Limitations Paperwork Lease Addendum Payment Delays

22 Scope of SOI Protection Washington Oregon California Nevada Montana Idaho Wyoming Utah Colorado North Dakota South Dakota Nebraska Kansas Minnesota Iowa Missouri Wisconsin Michegan (upper penisula) Illinois Michigan Indiana Kentucky Ohio New York Pennsylvania Maryland West Virginia Virginia Maine Vermont New Hampshire Massachutes Rhode Island Connecticut New Jersey DC Arizona New Mexico Oklahoma Arkansas Tennessee Alabama Mississippi North Carolina South Carolina Georgia Delware Alaska Texas Louisiana Florida Hawaii Rhode Island

23 Now what?

24 Industry Response Fight individual ordinances on a state and local level. Press HUD to support voluntary nature of Section 8. Alert members of Congress and recruit allies. Educate affiliates and get ahead of potential proposals.

25 Outlook

26 Questions

27 Thank You