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What property managers need to know about assistance animals

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A black Labrador retriever in a red leash stands at his owner's side on a paved walking path in a park.

08/24/2015 | Author: Editorial Staff

Even if you enforce a no-pets policy for the properties you manage, some tenants may still be legally able to keep animals under fair-housing laws. Here’s information from the August 19 Property Management webinar, “Fair Housing Issues,” that you may not know about assistance animals. 

What is an assistance animal?
An animal that works, provides assistance, or performs tasks for the benefit of a person with a disability or provides emotional support that alleviates one or more identified symptoms or effects of a person’s disability. 

What kind of training must an assistance animal have?
None is required by the Fair Housing Act. 

Can a property owner require proof that the tenant needs an assistance animal?
Yes. Once a request for a reasonable accommodation is made, if the tenant’s disability or the need for the accommodation is not readily apparent or known, the Fair Housing Act allows a property owner to request reliable documentation of a disability or disability-related need for an assistance animal. This documentation may be from a physician, psychiatrist, social worker, or other mental health professional.   

Can the property owner require an additional fee for allowing an assistance animal?
No. However, the tenant would still be legally responsible for any damage caused by the animal. 

Watch a recording of the webinar and download the slides from the Property Management page on

Categories: Property Management, Legal, Landlords
Tags: legal, webinar, property management, leasing, landlord, property manager, renters, fair housing, assistance animals

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Legal disclaimer

The material provided here is for informational purposes only and is not intended and should not be considered as legal advice for your particular matter. You should contact your attorney to obtain advice with respect to any particular issue or problem. Applicability of the legal principles discussed in this material may differ substantially in individual situations.

While the Texas Association of REALTORS® has used reasonable efforts in collecting and preparing materials included here, due to the rapidly changing nature of the real estate marketplace and the law, and our reliance on information provided by outside sources, the Texas Association of REALTORS® makes no representation, warranty, or guarantee of the accuracy or reliability of any information provided here or elsewhere on Any legal or other information found here, on, or at other sites to which we link, should be verified before it is relied upon.

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