Advocate In Your Community
Joe and Mary live in Harmony Gardens, a 15 unit apartment complex. Joe, who is Deaf, just took possession of a hearing dog, which was trained by an organization specializing in the training of dogs for individuals who are Deaf, Deaf-blind, or Hard of Hearing.
The apartment complex manager has advised Joe of its “no pets” policy, and has given Joe thirty days to vacate the apartment or get rid of his hearing dog.
What Do You Do?/What Can You Do?
Although the legal definitions of “hearing dog,” “guide dog,” and “service animal” may differ from statute to statute, Joe and his hearing dog are protected by several Georgia State and Federal laws. Joe should bring these laws to the attention of the manager of the apartment complex. If the matter cannot be resolved with the property manager, Joe has the option of bringing a formal complaint to State or Federal agencies which enforce these rights.
Note: In this situation is dealing with a “hearing dog.” The Federal and State laws apply equally to individuals with all disabilities.
Laws That Apply:
The Federal Fair Housing Amendments Act of 1988 (42 U.S.C. § 3601 et seq.) which applies to all non-owner occupied multifamily dwellings, makes it unlawful for owners (or their agents) to refuse to make reasonable accommodations in rules, policies, practices or services when such accommodations may be necessary to afford a person with a disability an equal opportunity to use and enjoy a dwelling unit.
Additionally, the Georgia State Law regarding accommodations in renting, leasing, or purchasing housing specifically addresses the issue Joe is confronting and provides that:
Every… totally or partially blind person, every physically disabled person, and every deaf person who has a guide dog or service dog or who obtains a guide dog or service dog and every person engaged in the training of a guide dog or service dog shall be entitled to full and equal access to all housing accommodations provided for in this Code section, and he or she shall not be required to pay extra compensation for such guide dog or service dog. However, he or she shall be liable for any damage done to the premises by such guide dog or service dog. (O.C.G.A. § 30-4-3 (b)).
Housing providers that receive federal financial assistance are also subject to the requirements of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. (29 U.S.C. § 794.).
For information on the federal Fair Housing complaint process with HUD go to:
For information on the Georgia Fair Housing complaint process with the Georgia Commission on Equal Opportunity go to:
You can also contact Metro Fair Housing for support and information. They are a private, not-for-profit, fair housing organization whose primary purpose is to prevent housing discrimination in the metropolitan Atlanta area and throughout the state of Georgia.
For more information, contact the Georgia Advocacy Office at 800-537-2329 (Voice/TTY).