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SB 1228 Va. Fair Housing Law; responsibilities with respect to use of an assistance animal in a dwelling.
SUMMARY AS PASSED: (all summaries)
Virginia Fair Housing Law; rights and responsibilities with respect to the use of an assistance animal in a dwelling. Sets out the rights and responsibilities under the Virginia Fair Housing Law (§ 36-96.1 et seq.) with respect to maintaining an assistance animal in a dwelling. The bill establishes a process through which a person with a disability may submit a request for a reasonable accommodation to maintain an assistance animal in a dwelling, including any supporting documentation verifying the disability and disability-related need for an accommodation. Under the bill, a request for reasonable accommodation to maintain an assistance animal may be denied for any one of the following reasons: (i) the requester does not have a disability; (ii) the requester does not have a disability-related need for an assistance animal; (iii) the accommodation imposes an undue financial and administrative burden on the person receiving the request; or (iv) the accommodation would fundamentally alter the nature of the operations of the person receiving the request. The bill provides that whenever a request for a reasonable accommodation to maintain an assistance animal in a dwelling is denied for reasons other than that the requester does not have a disability or a disability-related need for an assistance animal, an interactive process shall be initiated to determine if there is an alternative accommodation that would effectively address the disability-related need. The bill also defines "assistance animal," "major life activities," "therapeutic relationship," and "physical or mental impairment." The bill provides that if any provision of its provisions is determined by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to be not substantially equivalent or otherwise inconsistent with the federal Fair Housing Act of 1968, 42 U.S.C. § 3601 et seq., as amended, such provision shall not be enforceable. As introduced, this bill was a recommendation of the Virginia Housing Commission. This bill is identical to HB 2006.