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Report: People with Emotional Support Animals Face High Levels of Discrimination in Housing

Posted on 18. Nov, 2019 by

The Greater New Orleans Fair Housing Action Center (GNOFHAC) released a new investigation showing only one in five landlords would accept an emotional support animal in accordance with fair housing laws. Over the past two years, GNOFHAC has seen a significant increase in the number of fair housing complaints lodged concerning assistance or emotional support animals— usually dogs. 

The testing investigation involved mystery shoppers posing as prospective renters and contacting 60 housing providers in New Orleans and Baton Rouge to inquire about whether they would be willing to make a reasonable accommodation for an emotional support animal. For testing purposes, the emotional support animal was a golden retriever named Charlie.

Though news coverage has sometimes focused on perceived abuses or fringe examples of emotional support animals, like peacocks, research shows that veterans suffering from PTSD and millions of others dealing with disabling depression or anxiety have seen great benefits from emotional support animals. 

The breakdown of housing provider responses to the request for an emotional support animal included:

· Flat out denial (40%)
· Offered no final answer (20%)
· Imposed additional fees and conditions (20%)
· Approved request in accordance with Fair Housing laws (20%)

The investigation revealed that the vast majority of landlords tested were either ignorant of their responsibilities under fair housing laws, or worse, skeptical of the testers’ disability and need for an animal.

Read the full audit, “No Happy Tail: Emotional Support Animals in Housing,” here.

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