Q: Your community allows pets, but limits their weight to no more than 20 pounds. If a disabled resident says she needs a larger dog as an assistance animal, must you consider making an exception to the weight restriction as a reasonable accommodation?

A: Yes. Under fair housing law, communities must consider a request for an exception to pet policies, including size or weight restrictions, as a reasonable accommodation when necessary to allow an individual with a disability an equal opportunity to use and enjoy the property.

In addition to making exceptions to your pet policy’s size or weight restrictions, you may also have to permit a disabled resident to keep a “restricted breed” dog—such as a pit bull—as an assistance animal. For more on this controversial topic, see “Keep Restricted Breed Dogs on Short Leash in Community,” in the February 2013 issue, available in on our homepage or in our online Archive.


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