Animal Law Review

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Living with a disability can make finding a home a difficult task. Discrimination against the use of a service or assistive animal in lease agreements is a hurdle to finding a home for persons with disabilities. This discrimination is particularly pronounced when the individual suffers from a mental or emotional disability, because these disabilities are “invisible.” Because these disabilities are invisible, landlords are often reluctant to make reasonable accommodations in lease agreements to further the use of service and assistive animals in the treatment of mental illnesses or other disabilities, as required by the Fair Housing Act. This Article considers the requirements the Fair Housing Act imposes on landlords to make reasonable accommodations to their no-pets policies in order to facilitate the use of service and assistive animals. This Article begins with a look at the history of the Fair Housing Act and then analyzes different courts’ approaches to interpreting the Fair Housing Act in relation to maintaining a service or assistive animal. This Article concludes with suggested model legislation that would further the policy considerations behind the Fair Housing Act and make finding a home easier for people with disabilities.

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