November 2023 Coach's Quiz
Neighbors complain that a tenant’s dog has a nasty habit of barking all night and attacking young children. Several claim to have been bitten. You ask the tenant to get rid of the dog, reminding her that you have a no-pets policy. The tenant then reminds you that she’s a Gulf War veteran and contends that she needs the dog as an emotional support animal to cope with PTSD. She produces letters from the VA and a psychiatrist supporting her story. Do you have to let her keep the dog?
a. Yes, because the dog is an assistance animal
b. No, because the dog poses a nuisance and physical threat to other tenants
c. Yes, because the tenant needs the dog to deal with her PTSD
Your property is located in San Antonio where local ordinance bans military status discrimination. A naval officer has been assigned to a new base and needs a one-bedroom apartment right away. The only one-bedroom apartment that’s currently available is right next door to the unit occupied by a radical peace activist with an erratic personality and history of getting into aggressive confrontations with anybody he believes supports or represents the military. You fear that leasing the military couple the apartment would create a volatile situation. What should you do?
a. Not tell the couple about the vacancy for their own good
b. Tell the couple about the vacancy but warn them they wouldn’t be comfortable renting it
c. Tell the couple about the vacancy without seeking to influence their decision about taking it
COACH’S ANSWERS & EXPLANATIONS
Correct answer: b
Reason: Rule #5 applies here:
Rule #5: Make Reasonable No-Pet Policy Exceptions for Veterans’ Assistance Animals
The veteran checks almost all of the boxes required for an exemption to a no-pet policy. She has a disability—PTSD. The dog is an assistance animal to the extent it provides her emotional support. And she’s produced legitimate documentation of her condition and disability-related need for the dog. But there’s one crucial box that she hasn’t checked: The animal in this case endangers the safety of other tenants and interferes with their enjoyment of the premises. So, letting the tenant keep the dog wouldn’t be a reasonable accommodation and b. is the right answer.
Wrong answers explained:
a. The dog’s status as an assistance animal is just one of the conditions that must be met for an exemption to a no-pets policy to be deemed reasonable.
c. While documentation of a disabled veteran’s disability-related need for an assistance animal is required, it’s not enough to make the requested accommodation reasonable. The overriding factor that justifies refusing the accommodation is that the dog poses a danger and nuisance to other tenants in the building.
Correct answer: c
Reason: Rule #2 applies here:
Rule #2: Don’t Engage in Military Status-Based Steering
Landlords and leasing agents aren’t allowed to say or do things (or omit to say or do things) to protect rental prospects from themselves. Prospects have the right to make their own housing decisions even if you deem them unwise or dangerous. Nor can you allow neighbors with biases against protected classes—in this case, military status—exercise a de facto veto over where a prospect can live. Your responsibility, in short, is to tell all prospects about all suitable vacancies and keep your own views and opinions out of it, particularly if those views or opinions are based on protected class. So, c. is the right answer.
Wrong answers explained:
a. Concealing or lying to prospects about a vacancy is never a good option, especially when the reason for doing it is related to a prospect’s protected class.
b. Telling prospects where they’d feel “comfortable” based on protected class is illegal steering, even when the person who engages in it is well intentioned and sincerely only trying to protect the prospect from making a bad decision.
See The Lesson For This Quiz
|How to Avoid Military & Veteran Status Discrimination|