Nevada Landlord Accused of Denying Applicant’s Request for Assistance Animal

The owners and managers of a Nevada community recently settled allegations of disability discrimination for refusing an applicant’s reasonable accommodation request to keep an assistance animal.

Federal fair housing law requires housing providers to make reasonable accommodations in policies or practices when a person with a disability requires such accommodations, including granting waivers to "no-pet" policies for persons who require assistance animals. The law also makes it unlawful to make housing unavailable to any person because of a disability.

In her HUD complaint, the applicant alleged that the community’s owners and managers denied her request to keep an assistance animal in the apartment she was attempting to rent, even though she provided documentation from her doctor attesting to her need for the animal due to her disability. According to the applicant, the leasing agent told her that the owner didn’t allow pets because the floors had been recently upgraded to hardwood. After that interaction, the woman said she didn’t pursue the rental.

Among other things, the settlement requires the community to pay the applicant $6,000 and to adopt reasonable accommodation policies that assess requests on a timely basis.

"Forcing persons with disabilities to live without the assistance animals they depend on denies them the opportunity to fully enjoy their home," Anna María Farías, HUD Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity, said in a statement. "This case was resolved quickly and represents our continued commitment to protecting the rights of persons who require such accommodations and ensuring that housing providers meet their obligation to comply with the nation's fair housing laws."