Owners of apartment buildings may be required to make reasonable exceptions to policies regarding pets, states the U.S. Department of Justice. As of 2014, state equal access laws prohibit discriminating against disabled people who use assistance animals, says the Animal Legal & Historical Center.
State laws governing the use of assistance animals vary, but most specify that people who use service dogs cannot be denied housing or charged an additional fee, according to the Animal Legal & Historical Center. Anyone who refuses entry or interferes with disabled individuals using service animals in public areas or housing is subject to prosecution. Harassing, interfering with, or causing harm to service dogs is illegal in most states. Punishments range from a simple misdemeanor charge to a year in jail and a $10,000 fine.
The Fair Housing Act, amended in 1988, prevents discrimination against disabled individuals by anyone selling or renting housing, notes the U.S. Department of Justice. The Fair Housing Act applies to federal, state and local government housing as well as to private housing. It is unlawful for a landlord to discriminate against disabled individuals or anyone associated with them. Discriminatory housing practices are subject to legal action from the Department of Justice and private lawsuits. Complaints of violations are handled by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.