Recent Testing Investigation Reveals Disability Discrimination at Arlington Apartment Complex

By Nick Adjami
October 20, 2021

Through a recent testing investigation, the ERC uncovered likely discriminatory behavior against people with disabilities by a housing provider in Arlington, Virginia. During tests, leasing staff at the Morene Apartments stated that people with disabilities would not be allowed to have assistance animals in their homes.

Graphic reads: Do you have an assistance animal? Under the Fair Housing Act, people with disabilities are allowed to have assistance animals in their homes. Assistance animals include emotional support animals and service animals. You can request a reasonable accommodation to many pet-related restrictions if you need an assistance animal. Housing providers may be violating the law if they: Refuse to rent to you because you have an assistance animal, or Refuse to allow your assistance animal to live with you. You can report housing discrimination to the Equal Rights Center. 202-234-3062 info@equalrightscenter.org equalrightscenter.org

Under the Fair Housing Act (FHA), people with disabilities have the right to request “reasonable accommodations” in housing. A reasonable accommodation is a change to a rule, policy, practice, or service that provides a person with a disability equal opportunity to use and enjoy their home. One common type of reasonable accommodation is for people with disabilities to be allowed assistance animals in their homes. Refusing to allow assistance animals as a reasonable accommodation to people with disabilities in housing is illegal under the FHA. For more information about reasonable accommodations and the rights of people with disabilities in housing, visit the ERC’s Making Home Accessible toolkit.

Service animals and emotional support animals are both considered to be assistance animals. Service animals are trained to perform one or more tasks to assist people with disabilities, such as a guide dog assisting a blind tenant navigating their surroundings. Emotional support animals are not specially trained, but their presence improves disability-related symptoms for people with disabilities. For example, an emotional support cat may improve a person’s symptoms from depression or another mental health disability. For more information on service and assistance animals, and protections under the FHA and Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), visit the ERC’s resource, Navigating Life with your Service or Assistance Animal.

If you believe you may have experienced discrimination in housing, you can contact the Equal Rights Center. To report your experience, please call 202-234-3062 or email info@equalrightscenter.org.

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If you believe you may have experienced discrimination in housing, you can contact the Equal Rights Center. To report your experience, please call 202-234-3062 or email info@equalrightscenter.org.

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