Fair Housing – Service and Comfort Animals

Fair Housing – Service and Comfort Animals

Can a condo unit or homeowner association enforce a no-pets policy when it comes to service or comfort animals? Test your knowledge of the Fair Housing Laws and Washington state requirements on this topic. Check out the Washington REALTORS® Legal Hotline Lawyer Annie Fitzsimmons in this short video on the Fair Housing Act and how it applies to property management and condo associations. Annie discusses the “no pets policy” versus the framework of the Fair Housing Act in regards to service/comfort animals.

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Legal Hotline Video featuring Annie Fitzsimmons, Washington REALTORS® Legal Hotline Lawyer – The Legal Hotline is a Washington REALTOR® Member only benefit. These videos are intended for Washington REALTOR® members. If you have questions and are a primary member in good standing with Washington REALTORS®, visit www.warealtor.org to contact the Legal Hotline Lawyer. You will need your NRDS ID and password to inquire with the Legal Hotline or search the database.


  1. you are a very smart individual: I have an emotional support animal and according to the pet policy rules i must hand carry or place my animal on a stroller or something not to walk the animal on the floor of the property, in or out of the building. ive been looking for answers based on this issue for quiet some time now, what can i do according to this subject because its my understanding that my animal is infact not a pet.

  2. I have a question. Can the person that wants to rent, hide the fact that he or she has a pet/animal when the Leese reads " No pets. No animals." and then 6 months down the road when you find out that person has a pet…then they call it a ESA…Then what?

  3. I knew there were rules specific to "Service" animals, I’ve never heard the term "comfort" animals before and I think that’s were we could find ourselves in trouble.  Thanks for expanding on the terminology so we don’t make the wrong assumptions in a conversation. 

  4. Thank you Annie:  I have another questions regarding fair housing. In a condo HOA you are required to have a certain number of disabled parking spaces. The association I live is has at least one at our cabana/mailbox next to visitor parking spaces. My question is this. We have one homeowner that has 1 parking space at his unit. But because he has two cars often the other car will be in his parking space so he parks in the disability space rather than parking on the street which may be 2 car lengths away. We have other persons with disabilities. He treats this one space as his space and had told the board they are required to provide one for him. I say we do not have to provide him specifically one. Our is open to anyone who has a license to park in it.  And it is not near any unit.

    Thank you
    Gail Murchison 

  5. I have seen more comfort animal, as German Shepards for blind people. Protected Class, might to be not a proper name. We cannot avoid going blind at any age, a service man coming back from war, or a child that needs this pet, because Diabetes, etc. Love your Dog.

  6. Can they tell you that you are not allowed to have your comfort animal in the condo until your request is approved by them? I live in a condo in Hawaii please help I’m new to this and they aren’t allowing me to have my comfort cat with me because they said it takes days or weeks to approve my request?

  7. I dont know if I can keep my ESA in a privately owned triplex or not? Or a single home that is owned by a private landlord. Arent there exemptions to the rules for allowing ESAs?

  8. This seems like something that deceitful tenants can effectively use to get out of paying pet deposits and fees. I have yet to see a video on YouTube that explains how to protect against these inevitable scenarios which I think will rapidly become the norm.

  9. Thanks for the useful information! Does the same apply to housing subdivisions where developer sets restrictions through protective covenants to exclude certain types of dogs? For example, it is common to see protective covenants excluding dogs of the Rottweiler or Wolf breed to protect other homeowners from aggressive dogs.  

  10. Thank you I got my housing in the state of Maine however I had a service animal a 10 lbs the woman on the phone said that military veterans are the only ones who get to have a service dog so me believing her said I can’t get rid of my dog I need him so I gave up my housing now homeless and my dog is at my daughters in 2 states away from me I’m out of my mind I suffer from PTSD panic attacks and anxiety plus I’m physically disabled also I so wish I had the back bone to find out how true this was…the woman lied I feel awful that I cant stand up for myself and I am ultra sensitive to I am so devastated by not having my little guy by my side he’s peeing in my daughters house! My dog normally doesn’t pee or poop indoors so I’m overwhelmed with this feeling of guilt I have a stomach full of ulcers and one of the ulcers I’s on my staple line this is extra dangerous idk what to do or who to get help from any & all feedback is welcome I’m praying for a miracle it will be cold outdoors soon enough I have ungodly fear being a woman who has been raped at age 17 I’m going to be 50 in September I feel like a terrified child against my ssdi check is a whopping $ 827 a month and my foodstamps are 100$ per month now I’m in a different state other than Maine I do however still have a Maine drivers license so if I knew how and who to call for assistance I’d do it but i don’t know what or where to start..I’m petrified, i get so worked up that i can not even speak or remember simple words it feels like I’m being suffocated my neck gets swollen from the anxity its horrific. I know our heavenly father has a plan my creator who I have great faith in will in time make sure that I have a roof over my head I must believe this or I’m done mentally the closest womans shelter is in z
    LYNN MASS AND Lynn is a scary place…as a teenager I was thr one who didnt leave my home town of Beverly ma idk I’m always tired ive fallen 3xlast week its that time of the month ugh I’m running out of pads like this isn’t what i thought my life would ever be like i got out of a bad unhealthy marriage it took me 2 long years to do i have fear and a bad headache right now.i was an animal groomer for many years now my body is in pain daily and I don’t take any meds for my pain a tylenol when I have a headache please pray for me and thank you for taking the time to read my text.i prefer to talk over the phone rather than text but as you see I go on and on yikes help if any one has any ideas for me I’d appreciate them thanks again.

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