Assistance Animal FAQs, Pt. 3: Restricted Breeds

In this four-part series we’re featuring answers to some tricky questions attendees asked during our recent webinar, How to Handle Requests for Assistance Animals, presented by attorney Theresa L. Kitay.

Q: We have verified that a tenant’s Rottweiler is her assistance animal. But Rottweilers are a restricted breed under our property's insurance policy. What should we do?

A: HUD has told us that if your carrier won't insure you if you allow a Rottweiler on site, and you’re unable to obtain comparable insurance from some other carrier, then that would be a defense to not allowing the Rottweiler. It would not be a defense to not allowing an assistance animal at all, but not allowing that particular breed. The problem is the burden is on you, the housing provider, to show that: (1) your insurance carrier is going to drop you; and (2) you cannot obtain comparable insurance. It's your burden, but it is a potential defense.