Fair Housing SC
Accessible Housing Service Animals The Fair Housing Act requires that applicants and tenants with disabilities be provided with "reasonable accommodations" needed for them to have an opportunity for full use and enjoyment of their housing. Allowing tenants and their guests who have disabilities to be accompanied by their service animals is a reasonable accommodation to housing policy and practice. Allowing a service animal in a housing complex that has traditionally had a "No Pets" policy is an example of a reasonable accommodation, because service animals are a healthcare option that many individuals choose to help them overcome the limitations imposed by disabilities. The Fair Housing Act requires that landlords honor requests for animals like service dogs if a person with a disability requires that dog for daily life activities. In those cases, allowing a dog is not unfairly providing people with disabilities special treatment, but rather allowing them their legal right to equal opportunity in housing. Without their service animal, many people with disabilities are unable to access or use their homes, because the service animal is essential for daily tasks such as retrieving items, opening doors and turning on light switches. In order to be protected by the Fair Housing Act with regard to service animals, three tests must be met: 1. The person must have a disability. 2. The animal must serve a function directly related to the person's disability. 3. The request to have the service animal must be reasonable.

What are Service Animals?

The most common service animals are dogs, but sometimes other species are used (for example, a cat or a bird). Service animals may be any breed, size or weight. Some, but not all, service animals wear special collars and harnesses. Some, but not all, are licensed or "certified" and/or have identification papers. However, there is no legal requirement for service animals to be visibly identified or to have documentation. In addition, there are many types of service animals with different names which are not certified and don’t have special training. For example, companion animals, which don’t perform specific tasks, are considered service animals.

Types of Service Animals

Fair Housing is not an option. It’s the law.

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Guide Animal A guide animal serves as a travel tool for a person who is legally blind. Hearing Animal A hearing animal alerts a person with significant hearing loss or who is deaf when a sound occurs, such as a ringing alarm or a knock on the door. Service Animal A service animal helps a person who has a mobility or health disability. Duties may include carrying, fetching, opening doors, ringing doorbells, activating elevator buttons, steadying a person while walking, helping a person up after a fall, etc. Seizure Response Animal A seizure response animal assists a person with a seizure disorder. The animal's service depends on the person's needs. The animal may go for help, or may stand guard over the person during a seizure. Some animals have learned to predict a seizure and warn the person. Companion Animal or Emotional Support Animal A companion animal or emotional support animal assists people with psychological disabilities. Emotional support animals can help alleviate symptoms such as depression, anxiety, stress and difficulties regarding social interactions, allowing tenants to live independently and fully use and enjoy their living environment.
Fair Housing SC
April is Fair Housing Month