How the New HUD Guidelines Affect Assistance Animals

A breakdown of the major points within HUD’s latest Notice, explained by attorney Brad Morris.

Also included in the cottage industry according to housing providers are medical providers who issue letters supporting requests for accommodation for a fee. The Notice attempts to address these industry concerns. HUD states that certificates, registrations and licensing documents sold to “anyone who answers certain questions or participates in a short interview and pays a fee,” are not alone “sufficient to reliably establish that an individual has a non-observable disability or disability-related need for an assistance animal.”

By contrast, HUD recognizes that legitimate medical care is available over the internet. The Notice states “many legitimate, licensed health care professionals deliver services remotely, including over the internet. One reliable form of documentation is a note from a person’s health care professional that confirms a person’s disability and/or need for an animal when the health care professional has personal client knowledge of the individual.”

The term “personal client knowledge” is new to the analysis and introduced by HUD in the Notice. We anticipate that inquiries into the reliability of internet letters will focus on the personal client knowledge of the medical professional concerning the animal owner.

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