Elizabeth A. (Betsy) Urbance
General Counsel and Vice President of Legal Services
Illinois REALTORS® has been fielding many questions related to tenants who have service or emotional support animals and whether the landlord can deny an otherwise qualified applicant on that basis. The general answer to that question, is no. A person with a service or emotional support animal must not be denied housing on that basis. The landlord or property manager could be facing a fair housing complaint case. A service or emotional support animal, when it comes to housing, is not a pet. Therefore, no pet policies and pet deposits do not apply. The landlord or property manager could charge the terminating tenant for any actual damages caused by the animal, after the fact.
- Here is a link to a helpful HUD memo which gives some fairly good guidance relating to this situation.