W.Va. Community Accused of Denying Resident’s Request for Assistance Animal
HUD recently charged the owners of a West Virginia mobile home community with discriminating against a resident with a disability by refusing his request to keep his emotional support animal. Federal fair housing law requires housing providers to make reasonable accommodations in their rules, policies, practices, or services when needed to provide persons with disabilities an equal opportunity to use or enjoy a dwelling.
According to HUD's charge, a resident in the mobile home community who had difficulty sleeping and experienced severe anxiety as a result of a 2009 home invasion asked the community to waive its "no pets" policy and allow him to keep an emotional support dog that assists with coping with his disability. HUD alleged that the resident submitted a doctor's note attesting to his need for the animal, but the community declined his requests and attempted to evict him.
HUD's charge will be heard by an administrative law judge unless any party to the charge elects to have the case heard in federal district court.
"Assistance animals provide persons with disabilities the stability they need to function on a daily basis," Bryan Greene, HUD's Acting Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity, said in a statement. "HUD will continue to enforce the Fair Housing Act's protections to ensure that housing providers comply with their obligation to provide reasonable accommodations."