HUD Clarifies Pet Regulations with Final Rule
In late October, HUD announced a final regulation that delivers consistency between pet rules and service animal rules, says Denise Muha, executive director of the National Leased Housing Association (NLHA).
About a year ago, HUD proposed that assisted housing pet regulations be changed to conform with rules for public housing associations (PHAs) regarding the use of service animals as a reasonable accommodation. To allow more residents to use assistance animals, HUD proposed broadening its definition of assistance animals to include any animals that “assist, support, or provide service to persons with disabilities.” And HUD sought a revision whereby owners would be prohibited from enforcing pet policies against animals that are necessary “as a reasonable accommodation to assist, support, or provide service to persons with disabilities.” In addition, HUD wanted to repeal the resident certification and training requirements in the assisted housing pet regulations.
HUD called for comments from industry professionals. Ultimately, however, HUD's final regulation remained almost unchanged from the one it had proposed initially.
In the final regulation's preamble, HUD acknowledged industry concerns, but indicated that the rule as stated will not inhibit owners and managers in their efforts to deal with residents' needs. Specifically, the rule will not prevent owners and managers from dealing with health and safety issues, such as establishing reasonable rules relating to the disposal of pet and service animal waste.
The final rule also lets owners and managers “exclude an assistance animal from a housing complex when the animal's behavior poses a direct threat and its owner takes no effective action to control the animal's behavior so that the threat is mitigated or eliminated,” Muha says.
EDITOR'S NOTE: HUD's final regulation about pets was published in the Oct. 27, 2008, issue of the Federal Register at http://www.FederalRegister.gov.
Further reading: For background information, see “HUD Proposes Changes to Pet Regulations, Insider, March 2008, p. 1. See also “If Unauthorized Pet Discovered, Collect Fee, Deposit,” in our sister publication, Tax Credit Housing Management Insider, October 2008, p. 1.
Denise Muha: Executive Director, National Leased Housing Assn., 1900 L St. NW, Washington, DC 20036; (202) 785-8888; email@example.com.