The Indiana Civil Rights Commission issued a ruling this week in favor of a tenant after finding probable cause to believe that the landlord wrongfully evicted the tenant for not paying a pet fee for a service animal.
The investigation follows a complaint filed by the tenant who claims he was told he must pay a fee for his service animal after requesting accommodation for a disability.
According to the complaint, the landlord told the tenant that if he wished to keep a dog in the rental property, he needed to pay for it. When the tenant did not pay the pet fee, the landlord issued a notice of eviction.
The Fair Housing Act prevents property owners from denying the use of a service animal or charging any additional pet-related fees. Under the Act, a service animal is not considered a pet.
The probable cause ruling clears the way for a civil rights prosecution. Indiana Civil Rights Law provides remedies, including compensatory damages and injunctive relief, such as changes in the landlord’s policies and training.
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