Question

Can a landlord in Massachusetts refuse to rent an apartment to a person because they own a service dog?

I am searching for an apartment in the Boston, MA area. I own a 5 pound chihuahua that is designated a service dog. Can a landlord tell me that they do not accept dogs in their units, even though I am disabled and my dog is a service animal?
Mark, the law you posted is only valid for federaly assisted housing. I am refering to private landlords (individual owners and big corp's)

6 years ago - 8 answers

Best Answer

Chosen by Asker

The laws for Fir Housing regarding service animals applies to all landlords, 100% of the time. The law the other guy quoted had to do with pets, not service animals.

Give him copies of your dogs certifications, that is all that is needed to declassify your dog as a pet. You should have received instructions when you received the dog, I am surprised you did not. It might help if you assure them that your dog will wear their vest when you take them out so the other neighbors do not think you were allowed a pet while they were not.

I am surprised there are people hear ignorant enough to think guide dogs are the only service animals. Many dogs are trained to deal with diabetes, seizures and other health issues where the size of the dog is not a factor.

6 years ago

Other Answers

Federal Pet Law
12 U.S.C. §1701 r-l; 24 C.F.R. §5.300,et seq.

This law allows persons with disabilities and persons who are elderly living in federally assisted non-family rental housing to own or keep common household pets (dogs, cats, birds, rabbits, fish or turtles). Owners and managers may make reasonable rules for the keeping of pets and may require a pet deposit. See also Massachusetts Public Accommodations Law, page 38.



Enforcement:
Department of Housing and Urban Development
Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity
10 Causeway Street, #321,

Boston, MA 02222
(617) 994-8300 (Voice), (617) 565-5453 (TTY) (800) 827-5005 (Voice)

Website: www.hud.gov/disabled.html

by Mark C - 6 years ago

That is sort of tricky on a technicality yes they can, not becuase of the animal but becuase it may adversely effect the other tenants.

by smedrik - 6 years ago

If you can back it up, that your dog is a service dog under ADA, then no the landlord can not reject you did not base upon the service dog, nor can the landlord request additional monies for the animals or additional deposit

US department of justice web site and service animals

www.ada.gov/animal.htm

by goz1111 - 6 years ago

No they cannot!
But as a landlord I could find another reason.
No, they cannot tell you they do not take service animals.
This has been a very misused law in my area.
People have tried to pass phony paperwork by me to get pit bulls in to their apartment for example.
I always call the Doctor who signed the paperwork.
For the record sounds like you would not want to live their anyway.

by William I - 6 years ago

Federal fair housing laws prohibit landlords from discriminating against disabled persons. Landlords are also required to provide "reasonable accommodation" to disabled persons. "Reasonable accommodation" requires a landlord with a "no pets" policy to, for instance, allow a blind person to keep a necessary seeing-eye dog.

But, I honestly have to say, how can a Chihuahua be a necessary service animal?

Go to the HUD website for more information.

The law is actually 42 USC 3601 et seq.

by Mr Placid - 6 years ago

Federal laws prohibit landlords from discriminating against the disabled. Landlords must make reasonable accommodations for those with disabilities. Reasonable accommodations are things like installing a ramp for a wheelchair bound individual provided the individual will pay to have it installed and also pay to have it removed at the end of the lease. Allowing a service animal in a place that has a no pets policy is also considered a reasonable accommodation. You could be charged an additional fee to cover any additional cleaning, etc that may need to be done or charged more per month for the allowance of an animal in the premises (similar to being charged to install and remove the ramp).

Be prepared to provide the certification for the animal. If it is not obvious that you are disabled, you may need to provide proof of that as well. With those two items, the landlord must make a reasonable accommodation.

good luck!

by Patrick - 6 years ago

Please explain you exact disability and the certification papers your dog has.

Many people have what they call "service animals" because they calm them down and make them feel good. The laws cover only accredited disabilities and certified animals.

by estielmo - 6 years ago