Landlords Face Penalties Over Pet Policies

Three landlords in Kentucky have just agreed to pay fines and face additional audits after their pet policies were challenged.

In the first case, the landlord refused to allow a tenant with a disability to bring her service animal into a no-pets building. After going through the mediation process with the Kentucky Commission on Human Rights, the landlord agreed to compensate the tenant in the amount of $7,500, to undergo auditing by the commission for three years, and to accept fair housing compliance training.

In a second case, the landlord was investigated by a local housing agency. That office determined that the landlord did not accept tenants with emotional support animals. The landlord agreed to pay a penalty of $350. They also agreed to undergo fair housing training, and to submit to audits for the next three years.

Another landlord agreed to pay a tenant $6,000 after demanding a $300 pet deposit before a bringing in a service animal.

Under current fair housing rules across the country, landlords must allow tenants with disabilities to have service or companion animals — sometimes referred to as emotional support animals — if the animal is prescribed by a health professional to assist with the disability. In the case of service or companion animals, landlords are not allowed to enforce any pet regulations that would normally apply, or place restrictions on the animals.

In another case before the same Kentucky commission, a landlord’s lease policies were challenged when the landlord attempted to evict a tenant for criminal conduct on the property. The tenant was able to establish she was the victim of domestic violence. In that case, the board negotiated an agreement between the parties where the landlord allowed the tenant to remain. The landlord also agreed to provide a written apology to the tenant, to undergo fair housing compliance training, and to submit to additional compliance monitoring by the commission.

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