16A — May 15 - 28, 2020 — Multifamily Development — M id A tlantic Real Estate Journal


M ultifamily D evelopment

RENTCafe.com Apartment hunting resumes in April, pointing to high renter optimism

a service animal. ➢ If the answer to either question is “no” or “none,” the animal does not qualify as a service animal under federal law but may be a support ani- mal or other type of assistance animal that needs to be accom - modated. B: OTHER THAN SER- VICE ANIMALS – 4. Has the individual request - ed a reasonable accommodation —that is, asked to get or keep an animal in connection with a physical or mental impairment or disability? ➢ If “yes,” proceed to Part III. ➢ If “no,” the housing pro - vider is not required to grant a reasonable accommodation that has not been requested. Part III suggests the follow - ing questions to help a housing provider determine whether to grant the requested accom - modation: 5. Does the person have an observable disability or does the housing provider (or agent making the determination for the housing provider) already have information giving them reason to believe that the per - son has a disability? ➢ If “yes,” skip to question #7 to determine if there is a con - nection between the person’s disability and the animal. ➢ If “no,” continue to the next question. 6. Has the person requesting the accommodation provided information that reasonably supports that the person seek - ing the accommodation has a disability? ➢ If “yes,” proceed to ques - n mid-March, Googl e trends were showing how people’s interests shifted from apartment searches to - wards home office setups and home disinfection, as the first impact of Covid-19 was felt. Merely a month later, all signs are pointing to the fact that renters are back to searching for apartments to rent. Searches for apartments have returned to pre-pandemic volumes, both on Google Trends, on our web- site and in real life, a breeze of optimism for both consumers and the rental market eager to move forward. April traffic on RENTCafe.com surpasses pre-crisis levels by 17% It’s been almost two months I

assistance animal if the specific animal poses a direct threat that cannot be eliminated or reduced to an acceptable level through actions the individual takes to maintain or control the animal (e.g., keeping the animal in a secure enclosure). A reasonable accommoda- tion may include a reasonable accommodation to a land use and zoning law, Homeowners Association (HOA) rule, or co- op rule. A housing provider may not charge a fee for processing a reasonable accommodation request. Pet rules do not apply to service animals and support animals. Thus, housing provid - ers may not limit the breed or size of a dog used as a service animal or support animal just because of the size or breed, but can limit based on specific is - sues with the animal’s conduct because it poses a direct threat or a fundamental alteration. A housing provider may not charge a deposit, fee, or surcharge for an assistance animal. A housing provider, however, may charge a tenant for damage an assistance ani- mal causes if it is the provider’s usual practice to charge for damage caused by tenants (or deduct it from the standard security deposits imposed on all tenants). A person with a disability is responsible for feeding, main- taining, providing veterinary care, and controlling his or her assistance animal. The in - dividual may do this on his or her own or with the assistance of family, friends, volunteers, from one week to the next. The bounce-back and realignment of apartment searches with typical seasonal trends are posi- tive indicators that consumer optimism is returning. Apartment-related searches pick up on Google Trends in April While a month ago renters were more concerned with disinfecting their apartments rather than search for a new apartment, in April searches for “apartments”, “apartments for rent” and “apartment near me” took an upward turn on Google Trends. Survey shows that most renters are carrying on with moving plans The upward shift and opti -

or service providers. Individuals with disabilities and housing providers may reference the best practices provided in this guidance in making and responding to reasonable accommodation re- quests within the scope of this guidance for as long as it re- mains in effect. HUD strongly encourages individuals with disabilities and housing provid - ers to give careful attention to this guidance when making reasonable accommodation requests and decisions relating to animals. Failure to adhere to this guidance does not necessar- ily constitute a violation by housing providers of the FHA or regulations promulgated thereunder. Before denying a reasonable accommodation request due to lack of information confirming an individual’s disability or disability-related need for an animal, the housing provider is encouraged to engage in a good-faith dialogue with the requestor called the “interac - tive process.” The housing provider may not insist on specific types of evidence if the information which is provided, or actually known, to the housing provider meets the requirements of this guidance (except as provided above). Disclosure of details about the diagnosis or sever - ity of a disability or medical records or a medical examina- tion cannot be required. Bruce E. Gudin, Esq. is a partner at Ehrlich, Petri- ello, Gudin &Plaza in New- ark, NJ.  mism are further confirmed by real apartment seekers. In a survey recently conducted on RENTCafe.com renters said they do not intend to postpone their moving plans. Out of a whopping 9,000 respondents, 62% said they are moving as soon as they find an apartment, despite the COVID-19 pan - demic. Only 11% said they’re staying put, while the rest were either undecided or postponing their move. Additionally, 42% are not changing their apart - ment selection process, 28% of the participants indicated tak - ing advantage of virtual tours to help choose an apartment. RENTCafé.com is a nation- wide apartment search web - site and a part of Yardi. 

households. If the animal is a dog, cat, small bird, rabbit, hamster, gerbil, other rodent, fish, tur - tle, or other small, domesticat - ed animal that is traditionally kept in the home for pleasure rather than for commercial purposes, then the reason - able accommodation should be granted because the re - questor has provided informa - tion confirming that there is a disability-related need for the animal. Reptiles (other than turtles), barnyard animals, monkeys, kangaroos, and other non-domesticated animals are not considered common house - hold animals. RARE CIRCUMSTANCES: Unique animals. If the individual is request - ing to keep a unique type of animal that is not commonly kept in households as described above, then the requestor has the substantial burden of dem - onstrating a disability-related therapeutic need for the spe - cific animal or the specific type of animal. The individual is encouraged to submit docu- mentation from a health care professional confirming the need for this animal. PART V: GENERAL CONSIDERATIONS The FHA does not require a dwelling to be made available to an individual whose tenancy would constitute a direct threat to the health or safety of other individuals or whose tenancy would result in substantial physical damage to the proper - ty of others. A housing provider may, therefore, refuse a rea - sonable accommodation for an recent April numbers are show - ing not only a return to pre-crisis levels, but a 17% increase com- pared to the beginning of March before the drop. Starting with the end of March and into April, searches have been growing

tion #7. ➢ If “no,” the housing pro - vider is not required to grant the accommodation unless this information is provided, but may not deny the accom - modation on the grounds that the person requesting the ac - commodation has not provided this information until the requester has been provided a reasonable opportunity to do so. 7. Has the person requesting the accommodation provided information which reasonably supports that the animal does work, performs tasks, provides assistance, and/or provides therapeutic emotional support with respect to the individual’s disability? ➢ If “yes,” proceed to Part IV. ➢ If “no,” the housing pro - vider is not required to grant the accommodation unless this information is provided but may not deny the accommoda - tion on the grounds that the person requesting the accom - modation has not provided this information until the requester has been provided a reasonable opportunity to do so. Part IV relates to the type of animal requested: 8. Is the animal commonly kept in households? ➢ If “yes,” the reasonable ac - commodation should be provid - ed under the FHA unless the general exceptions described below exist. ➢ If “no,” a reasonable ac- commodation need not be pro- vided, but note the very rare circumstances described below. GENERAL EXCEPTIONS: Animals commonly kept in since the pandemic was de - clared an official crisis in the U.S., intersecting with what was supposed to be the begin - ning of the rental season. While in mid-March we saw searches on our website drop, the most

continued from page 11A Reasonable accommodations for animals comments on revised H.U.D. guideline

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