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            Lassie, Beethoven, and Bingo.  These are just a few famous pets.  But when is a pet, not a pet?  No, I am not talking about when owners dress up their animals for Halloween, no matter how cute those costumes are.  Instead, I am talking about when an animal is an assistant animal.  According to HUD, an assistance animal is not a pet.  It is an animal that works, provides assistance, or performs tasks for the benefit of a person with a disability, or provides emotional support that alleviates one or more identified symptoms or effects of a person’s disability. Thus, because assistance animals are not considered pets, pet restrictions, weight limits restrictions, along with breed and size restrictions, are not applicable and cannot be enforced to prevent the animal from being in the regime.  

            In 2020 the Housing for Urban Development issued a Notice that replaced the prior FHEO Notice Issued on April 23, 2013. This FEHO Notice 2020-1 did not change HUD’s position that assistance animals are not considered pets.  Instead, the FEHO Notice 2020-1 provides housing providers, including condominium and homeowners associations, “with a set of best practices for complying with the FHA when assessing requests for reasonable accommodations to keep animals in housing, including the information that a housing provider may need to know from a health care professional about an individual’s need for an assistance animal in housing.”  Prior to the FHEO Notice 2020-1 there was some confusion regarding what a housing provider may or may not ask, and what type of documentation regarding an assistant animal must an Association accept.  Hopefully, all Boards will review the 2020-1 FEHO Notice, since denying an assistant animal because of a pet restriction can put the Association at risk for an award of monetary damages.


Hebel & Hornung, P.S.C. represents over one hundred years of combined legal experience.

Established in 1984, the firm continues to focus on the principles of its founding member, Charles W. Hebel, Jr.

Following his lead, the firm of Hebel & Hornung, P.S.C. has established a tradition of excellence in the Louisville legal community.

Armed with a sterling reputation in residential and commercial real estate, Hebel & Hornung P.S.C. has become regionally recognized and is a leader in handling real estate transactions, condominium and community associations, IRC 1031 Tax-Deferred Exchanges, corporate and business formations, civil litigation, and wills, probate and estate planning.

The Kentucky Chapter of the Community Associations Institute is a 501(c)6 non-profit organization. PO Box 35094, Louisville, KY 40232

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