Realtors® Commend HUD for Moving to Limit Companion Animal Policy Abuse

WASHINGTON (November 11, 2019) – National Association of Realtors® President John Smaby issued the following statement Monday morning in response to the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s companion animal policy decision.

“The National Association of Realtors® commends HUD and Secretary Carson for taking action to protect those who rely on the assistance of companion animals while preventing undeserving individuals from exploiting the system,” said Smaby, a second-generation Realtor® from Edina, Minnesota.

The Fair Housing Act requires property owners and managers to make reasonable accommodations to allow persons with disabilities to live in and enjoy residential housing. Many persons with disabilities require an assistance animal, like guide dogs for the blind and emotional assistance animals for those suffering from PTSD or depression. Multiple online entities offer certificates for people to secure such accommodations, but there is virtually no regulation of these providers and some even offer certifications without examining the individuals requesting them.

“Realtors® believe that a healthcare professional should have a patient or therapeutic relationship with an individual before certifying his or her disability,” Smaby continued. “We look forward to continuing to work closely with the White House to secure these much needed regulatory changes, and we urge HUD to issue the appropriate guidance in the coming weeks and months.”

The National Association of Realtors® is America’s largest trade association, representing more than 1.4 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.