Full Statute Name:  Consolidated Assistance Animal/Guide Dog Laws

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Primary Citation:  Va. Code Ann. § 3.2-6528, 6588; § 46.2-932.1 - 934; § 51.5-40.1 - 51.5-46; § 36-96.1.1 - 3.2 Country of Origin:  United States Last Checked:  January, 2019 Alternate Citation:  VA ST § 3.2-6528, 6588; § 46.2-932.1 - 934; § 51.5-40.1 - 51.5-46
Summary:

The following statutes comprise the state's relevant assistance animal and guide dog laws.

  § 3.2-6528. Amount of license tax (states that no license tax shall be levied on any dog that is trained and serves as a guide dog for a blind person, that is trained and serves as a hearing dog for a deaf or hearing impaired person or that is trained and serves as a service dog for a mobility-impaired person).

West's Annotated Code of Virginia. Title 3.2. Agriculture, Animal Care, and Food. Subtitle V. Domestic Animals. Chapter 65. Comprehensive Animal Care. Article 12. Miscellaneous Provisions.

§ 3.2-6588 . Intentional interference with a guide or leader dog; penalty

Title 46.2. Motor Vehicles. Subtitle III. Operation. Chapter 8. Regulation of Traffic. Article 16. Pedestrians.

§ 46.2-932.1 . Duty of driver approaching blind pedestrian; effect of failure of blind person to carry white cane or use dog guide

§ 46.2-933 . When vehicles to stop for pedestrian guided by dog or carrying white, red-tipped white, or metallic cane

§ 46.2-934 . Failure to use cane or guide dog not contributory negligence

Title 51.5. Persons with Disabilities. Chapter 9. Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

§ 51.5-40.1 . Definitions

§ 51.5-44 . Rights of persons with disabilities in public places and places of public accommodation

§ 51.5-44.1. Fraudulent representation of a service dog or hearing dog; penalty

§ 51.5-45 . Right of persons with disabilities to housing accommodations

§ 51.5-46 . Remedies

Title 36. Housing. Chapter 5.1. Virginia Fair Housing Law

§ 36-96.1:1. Definitions

§ 36-96.2. Exemptions

§ 36-96.3. Unlawful discriminatory housing practices

§ 36-96.3:1. Rights and responsibilities with respect to the use of an assistance animal in a dwelling

§ 36-96.3:2. Reasonable accommodations; interactive process

 

West's Annotated Code of Virginia. Title 3.2. Agriculture, Animal Care, and Food. Subtitle V. Domestic Animals. Chapter 65. Comprehensive Animal Care. Article 12. Miscellaneous Provisions.

§ 3.2-6588. Intentional interference with a guide or leader dog; penalty

A. It is unlawful for a person to, without just cause, willfully impede or interfere with the duties performed by a dog if the person knows or has reason to believe the dog is a guide or leader dog. A violation of this subsection is a Class 3 misdemeanor.

B. It is unlawful for a person to, without just cause, willfully injure a dog if the person knows or has reason to believe the dog is a guide or leader dog. A violation of this subsection is a Class 1 misdemeanor.

“Guide or leader dog” means a dog that: (i) serves as a dog guide for a blind person as defined in § 51.5-60 or for a person with a visual disability; (ii) serves as a listener for a deaf or hard-of-hearing person as defined in § 51.5-111; or (iii) provides support or assistance for a physically disabled or handicapped person.

CREDIT(S)

Acts 2008, c. 860, eff. Oct. 1, 2008.

 

West's Annotated Code of Virginia. Title 46.2. Motor Vehicles. Subtitle III. Operation. Chapter 8. Regulation of Traffic. Article 16. Pedestrians.

§ 46.2-932.1. Duty of driver approaching blind pedestrian; effect of failure of blind person to carry white cane or use dog guide

The driver of a vehicle approaching a totally or partially blind pedestrian who is carrying a cane predominantly white or metallic in color (with or without a red tip) or using a dog guide shall take all necessary precautions to avoid injury to such blind pedestrian and dog guide, and any driver who fails to take such precautions shall be liable in damages for any injury caused such pedestrian and dog guide; provided that a totally or partially blind pedestrian not carrying such a cane or using a dog guide in any of the places, accommodations or conveyances listed in § 51.5-44, shall have all of the rights and privileges conferred by law upon other persons, and the failure of a totally or partially blind pedestrian to carry such a cane or to use a dog guide in any such places, accommodations or conveyances shall not be held to constitute nor be evidence of contributory negligence; provided, that nothing in this section shall be construed to limit the application of § 46.2-933 or § 46.2-934.

CREDIT(S)

Added by Acts 2002, c. 747, eff. Oct. 1, 2002.

 

§ 46.2-933. When vehicles to stop for pedestrian guided by dog or carrying white, red-tipped white, or metallic cane

Whenever a totally or partially blind pedestrian crossing or attempting to cross a highway in accordance with the provisions of § 46.2-923 is guided by a dog guide or carrying a cane which is predominantly metallic or white in color, with or without a red tip, the driver of every vehicle approaching the intersection or place of crossing shall bring his vehicle to a full stop before arriving at such intersection or place of crossing, unless such intersection or place of crossing is controlled by a law-enforcement officer or traffic light. Any person violating any provision of this section shall be guilty of a Class 3 misdemeanor.

Acts 1989. c. 727; Acts 1990, c. 555.

 

§ 46.2-934. Failure to use cane or guide dog not contributory negligence

Nothing contained in § 46.2-933 shall be construed to deprive any totally or partially blind or otherwise incapacitated person not carrying such a cane or walking stick or not being guided by a dog, of the rights and privileges conferred by law upon pedestrians crossing highways. Nor shall the failure of such totally or partially blind or otherwise incapacitated person to carry a cane or walking stick, or to be guided by a guide dog on the highways or sidewalks of the Commonwealth, be held to constitute nor be evidence of contributory negligence.

Acts 1989, c. 727.

 

West's Annotated Code of Virginia. Title 51.5. Persons with Disabilities. Chapter 9. Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

§ 51.5-40.1. Definitions

As used in this chapter, unless the context requires a different meaning:

“Hearing dog” means a dog trained to alert its owner by touch to sounds of danger and sounds to which the owner should respond.

“Mental impairment” means (i) a disability attributable to intellectual disability, autism, or any other neurologically handicapping condition closely related to intellectual disability and requiring treatment similar to that required by individuals with intellectual disability or (ii) an organic or mental impairment that has substantial adverse effects on an individual's cognitive or volitional functions, including central nervous system disorders or significant discrepancies among mental functions of an individual.

“Mobility-impaired person” means any person who has completed training to use a dog for service or support because he is unable to move about without the aid of crutches, a wheelchair, or any other form of support or because of limited functional ability to ambulate, climb, descend, sit, rise, or perform any related function.

“Otherwise disabled person” means any person who has a physical, sensory, intellectual, developmental, or mental disability or a mental illness.

“Person with a disability” means any person who has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more of his major life activities or who has a record of such impairment.

“Physical impairment” means any physical condition, anatomic loss, or cosmetic disfigurement that is caused by bodily injury, birth defect, or illness.
“Service dog” means a dog trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of a mobility-impaired or otherwise disabled person. The work or tasks performed by a service dog shall be directly related to the individual's disability or disorder. Examples of work or tasks include providing nonviolent protection or rescue work, pulling a wheelchair, assisting an individual during a seizure, alerting an individual to the presence of allergens, retrieving items, carrying items, providing physical support and assistance with balance and stability, and preventing or interrupting impulsive or destructive behaviors. The provision of emotional support, well-being, comfort, or companionship shall not constitute work or tasks for the purposes of this definition.

“Three-unit service dog team” means a team consisting of a trained service dog, a disabled person, and a person who is an adult and who has been trained to handle the service dog.

Credits
Added by Acts 2012, c. 803; Acts 2012, c. 835. Amended by Acts 2012, c. 476; Acts 2012, c. 507; Acts 2014, c. 616.

 

§ 51.5-44. Rights of persons with disabilities in public places and places of public accommodation

A. A person with a disability has the same rights as other persons to the full and free use of the streets, highways, sidewalks, walkways, public buildings, public facilities, and other public places. For purposes of this section, a “person with a disability” means a person whose disability is unrelated to his ability to utilize and benefit from a place of public accommodation or public service.

B. A person with a disability is entitled to full and equal accommodations, advantages, facilities, and privileges of all common carriers, airplanes, motor vehicles, railroad trains, motor buses, streetcars, subways, boats or any other public conveyances or modes of transportation, restaurants, hotels, lodging places, places of public accommodation, amusement or resort, public entities including schools, and other places to which the general public is invited subject only to the conditions and limitations established by law and applicable alike to all persons.

C. Each town, city or county, individually or through transportation district commissions, shall ensure that persons with disabilities have access to the public transportation within its jurisdiction by either (i) use of the same transportation facilities or carriers available to the general public, (ii) provision of paratransit or special transportation services for persons with disabilities, or (iii) both. All persons with disabilities in the jurisdiction's service area who, by reason of their disabilities, are unable to use the service for the general public shall be eligible to use such paratransit or special transportation service. No fee that exceeds the fee charged to the general public shall be charged a person with a disability for the use of the same transportation facilities or carriers available to the general public. Paratransit or special transportation service for persons with disabilities may charge fees to such persons comparable to the fees charged to the general public for similar service in the jurisdiction service area, taking into account especially the type, length and time of trip. Any variance between special service and regular service fares shall be justifiable in terms of actual differences between the two kinds of service provided.

D. Nothing in this title shall be construed to require retrofitting of any public transit equipment or to require the retrofitting, renovation, or alteration of buildings or places to a degree more stringent than that required by the applicable building code in effect at the time the building permit for such building or place is issued.

E. Every totally or partially blind person shall have the right to be accompanied by a dog in harness trained as a guide dog, every deaf or hearing-impaired person shall have the right to be accompanied by a dog trained as a hearing dog on a blaze orange leash, and every mobility-impaired or otherwise disabled person shall have the right to be accompanied by a dog, trained as a service dog, in a harness, backpack, or vest identifying the dog as a trained service dog, in any of the places listed in subsection B without being required to pay an extra charge for the dog, provided that he shall be liable for any damage done to the premises or facilities by such dog. The provisions of this section shall apply to persons accompanied by a dog that is in training, at least six months of age, and is (i) in harness, provided such person is an experienced trainer of guide dogs or is conducting continuing training of a guide dog; (ii) on a blaze orange leash, provided such person is an experienced trainer of hearing dogs or is conducting continuing training of a hearing dog; (iii) in a harness, backpack, or vest identifying the dog as a trained service dog, provided such person is an experienced trainer of service dogs or is conducting continuing training of a service dog; (iv) wearing a jacket identifying the recognized guide, hearing or service dog organization, provided such person is an experienced trainer of the organization identified on the jacket; or (v) the person is part of a three-unit service dog team and is conducting continuing training of a service dog.

Credits
Acts 1985, c. 421, § 51.01-44; Acts 1987, c. 500; Acts 1989, c. 326; Acts1994, c. 108; Acts 2001, c. 443; Acts 2008, c. 431; Acts 2008, c. 506. Amended by Acts 2012, c. 803; Acts 2012, c. 835; Acts 2014, c. 616.

 

§ 51.5-44.1. Fraudulent representation of a service dog or hearing dog; penalty

Any person who knowingly and willfully fits a dog with a harness, collar, vest, or sign, or uses an identification card commonly used by a person with a disability, in order to represent that the dog is a service dog or hearing dog to fraudulently gain public access for such dog pursuant to provisions in § 51.5-44 is guilty of a Class 4 misdemeanor.

Credits
Added by Acts 2016, c. 575.

 

§ 51.5-45. Right of persons with disabilities to housing accommodations

A. All persons with disabilities unrelated to their ability to acquire, rent, or maintain property shall be entitled to full and equal opportunity to acquire, as other members of the general public, any housing accommodations offered for sale, rent, lease, or compensation, subject to the conditions and limitations established by law and applying alike to all persons. “Housing accommodations” for the purpose of this section means any real property, or portion thereof, which is used or occupied or is intended, arranged, or designed to be used or occupied, as the home, residence, or sleeping place of one or more human beings, but does not include any single family residence the occupant or owner of which rents, leases, or furnishes for compensation not more than one room therein.

B. Every visually impaired person who has a guide dog, every hearing-impaired person who has a hearing dog, and every mobility-impaired or otherwise disabled person with a service dog shall be entitled to full and equal access with such dog to all housing accommodations provided for in this section. He shall not be required to pay extra compensation for such dog but shall be liable for any damage done to the premises by such dog.

C. Nothing in this section shall require any person offering for sale, renting, leasing, or providing for compensation real property to modify that real property or provide a higher degree of care for a person with a disability than for a person who is not disabled, except as provided in § 36-99.5, nor shall anything in this section require any person who is selling, renting, leasing, or providing for compensation real property to sell, rent, lease or provide such property to any person who would constitute a direct threat to the property or safety of others.

Credits
Acts 1985, c. 421, § 51.01-45; Acts 1987, c. 500. Amended by Acts 2014, c. 616.

 

§ 51.5-46. Remedies

A. Any circuit court having jurisdiction and venue pursuant to Title 8.01, on the petition of any person with a disability, shall have the right to enjoin the abridgement of rights set forth in this chapter and to order such affirmative equitable relief as is appropriate and to award compensatory damages and to award to a prevailing party reasonable attorney fees, except that a defendant shall not be entitled to an award of attorney fees unless the court finds that the claim was frivolous, unreasonable or groundless, or brought in bad faith. Compensatory damages shall not include damages for pain and suffering. Punitive damages shall not be awarded.

B. An action may be commenced pursuant to this section any time within one year of the occurrence of any violation of rights under this chapter. However, such action shall be forever barred unless such claimant or his agent, attorney or representative has commenced such action or has filed by registered mail a written statement of the nature of the claim with the potential defendant or defendants within 180 days of the occurrence of the alleged violation. Any liability for back pay shall not accrue from a date more than 180 days prior to the filing of the notice or the initial pleading in such civil action and shall be limited to a total of 180 days, reduced by the amount of other earnings over the same period. The petitioner shall have a duty to mitigate damages.

C. The relief available for violations of this chapter shall be limited to the relief set forth in this section.

Credits
Acts 1985, c. 421, § 51.01-46; Acts 1990, c. 458; Acts 1992, c. 627; Acts 2002, c. 572; Acts 2005, c. 681, eff. Jan. 1, 2006. Amended by Acts 2013, c. 571; Acts 2015, c. 710.

 

Title 36. Housing. Chapter 5.1. Virginia Fair Housing Law

§ 36-96.1:1. Definitions

For the purposes of this chapter, unless the context clearly indicates otherwise:

“Aggrieved person” means any person who (i) claims to have been injured by a discriminatory housing practice or (ii) believes that such person will be injured by a discriminatory housing practice that is about to occur.

“Assistance animal” means 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. Assistance animals perform many disability-related functions, including guiding individuals who are blind or have low vision, alerting individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing to sounds, providing protection or rescue assistance, pulling a wheelchair, fetching items, alerting persons to impending seizures, or providing emotional support to persons with disabilities who have a disability-related need for such support. An assistance animal is not required to be individually trained or certified. While dogs are the most common type of assistance animal, other animals can also be assistance animals. An assistance animal is not a pet.

“Complainant” means a person, including the Fair Housing Board, who files a complaint under § 36-96.9.

“Conciliation” means the attempted resolution of issues raised by a complainant, or by the investigation of such complaint, through informal negotiations involving the aggrieved person, the respondent, their respective authorized representatives and the Fair Housing Board.

“Conciliation agreement” means a written agreement setting forth the resolution of the issues in conciliation.

“Discriminatory housing practices” means an act that is unlawful under § 36-96.3, 36-96.4, 36-96.5, or 36-96.6.

“Dwelling” means any building, structure, or portion thereof, that is occupied as, or designated or intended for occupancy as, a residence by one or more families, and any vacant land that is offered for sale or lease for the construction or location thereon of any such building, structure, or portion thereof.

“Elderliness” means an individual who has attained his fifty-fifth birthday.

“Familial status” means one or more individuals who have not attained the age of 18 years being domiciled with (i) a parent or other person having legal custody of such individual or individuals or (ii) the designee of such parent or other person having custody with the written permission of such parent or other person. The term “familial status” also includes any person who is pregnant or is in the process of securing legal custody of any individual who has not attained the age of 18 years. For purposes of this section, “in the process of securing legal custody” means having filed an appropriate petition to obtain legal custody of such minor in a court of competent jurisdiction.

“Family” includes a single individual, whether male or female.

“Handicap” means, with respect to a person, (i) a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more of such person's major life activities; (ii) a record of having such an impairment; or (iii) being regarded as having such an impairment. The term does not include current, illegal use of or addiction to a controlled substance as defined in Virginia or federal law. For the purposes of this chapter, the terms “handicap” and “disability” shall be interchangeable.

“Lending institution” includes any bank, savings institution, credit union, insurance company or mortgage lender.

“Major life activities” means, but shall not be limited to, any the following functions: caring for oneself, performing manual tasks, walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, learning, and working.

“Person” means one or more individuals, whether male or female, corporations, partnerships, associations, labor organizations, fair housing organizations, civil rights organizations, organizations, governmental entities, legal representatives, mutual companies, joint stock companies, trusts, unincorporated organizations, trustees, trustees in bankruptcy, receivers and fiduciaries.

“Physical or mental impairment” means, but shall not be limited to, any of the following: (i) any physiological disorder or condition, cosmetic disfigurement, or anatomical loss affecting one or more of the following body systems: neurological; musculoskeletal; special sense organs; respiratory, including speech organs; cardiovascular; reproductive; digestive; genito-urinary; hemic and lymphatic; skin; or endocrine or (ii) any mental or psychological disorder, such as an intellectual or developmental disability, organic brain syndrome, emotional or mental illness, or specific learning disability. “Physical or mental impairment” includes such diseases and conditions as orthopedic, visual, speech, and hearing impairments; cerebral palsy; autism; epilepsy; muscular dystrophy; multiple sclerosis; cancer; heart disease; diabetes; human immunodeficiency virus infection; intellectual and developmental disabilities; emotional illness; drug addiction other than addiction caused by current, illegal use of a controlled substance; and alcoholism.

“Respondent” means any person or other entity alleged to have violated the provisions of this chapter, as stated in a complaint filed under the provisions of this chapter and any other person joined pursuant to the provisions of § 36-96.9.

“Restrictive covenant” means any specification in any instrument affecting title to real property that purports to limit the use, occupancy, transfer, rental, or lease of any dwelling because of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, elderliness, familial status, or handicap.

“To rent” means to lease, to sublease, to let, or otherwise to grant for consideration the right to occupy premises not owned by the occupant.

Credits

Acts 1972, c. 591, § 36-87; Acts 1973, c. 358; Acts 1978, c. 138; Acts 1989, c. 88; Acts 1991, c. 557; Acts 1992, c. 322; Acts 1996, c. 77; Acts 2003, c. 575. Amended by Acts 2017, c. 575; Acts 2017, c. 729.

 

§ 36-96.2. Exemptions

A. Except as provided in subdivision A 3 of § 36-96.3 and subsections A, B, and C of § 36-96.6, this chapter shall not apply to any single-family house sold or rented by an owner, provided that such private individual does not own more than three single-family houses at any one time. In the case of the sale of any single-family house by a private individual-owner not residing in the house at the time of the sale or who was not the most recent resident of the house prior to sale, the exemption granted shall apply only with respect to one such sale within any 24-month period; provided that such bona fide private individual owner does not own any interest in, nor is there owned or reserved on his behalf, under any express or voluntary agreement, title to or any right to all or a portion of the proceeds from the sale or rental of, more than three such single-family houses at any one time. The sale or rental of any such single-family house shall be exempt from the application of this chapter only if the house is sold or rented (i) without the use in any manner of the sales or rental facilities or the sales or rental services of any real estate broker, agent, salesperson, or of the facilities or the services of any person in the business of selling or renting dwellings, or of any employee, independent contractor, or agent of any broker, agent, salesperson, or person and (ii) without the publication, posting, or mailing, after notice, of any advertisement or written notice in violation of this chapter. However, nothing herein shall prohibit the use of attorneys, escrow agents, abstractors, title companies, and other professional assistance as necessary to perfect or transfer the title. This exemption shall not apply to or inure to the benefit of any licensee of the Real Estate Board or regulant of the Fair Housing Board, regardless of whether the licensee is acting in his personal or professional capacity.

B. Except for subdivision A 3 of § 36-96.3, this chapter shall not apply to rooms or units in dwellings containing living quarters occupied or intended to be occupied by no more than four families living independently of each other, if the owner actually maintains and occupies one of such living quarters as his residence.

C. Nothing in this chapter shall prohibit a religious organization, association or society, or any nonprofit institution or organization operated, supervised, or controlled by or in conjunction with a religious organization, association or society, from limiting the sale, rental, or occupancy of dwellings that it owns or operates for other than a commercial purpose to persons of the same religion, or from giving preferences to such persons, unless membership in such religion is restricted on account of race, color, national origin, sex, elderliness, familial status, or handicap. Nor shall anything in this chapter apply to a private membership club not in fact open to the public, which as an incident to its primary purpose or purposes provides lodging which it owns or operates for other than a commercial purpose, from limiting the rental or occupancy of such lodgings to its members or from giving preference to its members. Nor, where matters of personal privacy are involved, shall anything in this chapter be construed to prohibit any private, state-owned or state-supported educational institution, hospital, nursing home, religious or correctional institution, from requiring that persons of both sexes not occupy any single-family residence or room or unit of dwellings or other buildings, or restrooms in such room or unit in dwellings or other buildings, which it owns or operates.

D. Nothing in this chapter prohibits conduct against a person because such person has been convicted by any court of competent jurisdiction of the illegal manufacture or distribution of a controlled substance as defined in federal law.

E. It shall not be unlawful under this chapter for any owner to deny or limit the rental of housing to persons who pose a clear and present threat of substantial harm to others or to the dwelling itself.

F. A rental application may require disclosure by the applicant of any criminal convictions and the owner or managing agent may require as a condition of acceptance of the rental application that applicant consent in writing to a criminal record check to verify the disclosures made by applicant in the rental application. The owner or managing agent may collect from the applicant moneys to reimburse the owner or managing agent for the exact amount of the out-of-pocket costs for such criminal record checks. Nothing in this chapter shall require an owner or managing agent to rent a dwelling to an individual who, based on a prior record of criminal convictions involving harm to persons or property, would constitute a clear and present threat to the health or safety of other individuals.

G. Nothing in this chapter limits the applicability of any reasonable local, state or federal restriction regarding the maximum number of occupants permitted to occupy a dwelling. Owners or managing agents of dwellings may develop and implement reasonable occupancy and safety standards based on factors such as the number and size of sleeping areas or bedrooms and overall size of a dwelling unit so long as the standards do not violate local, state or federal restrictions. Nothing in this chapter prohibits the rental application or similar document from requiring information concerning the number, ages, sex and familial relationship of the applicants and the dwelling's intended occupants.

Credits

Acts 1972, c. 591, §§ 36-87, 36-92; Acts 1973, c. 358; Acts 1978, c. 138; Acts 1989, c. 88; Acts 1991, c. 557; Acts 1992, c. 322; Acts 2003, c. 575; Acts 2006, c. 693.

 

§ 36-96.3. Unlawful discriminatory housing practices

A. It shall be an unlawful discriminatory housing practice for any person:

1. To refuse to sell or rent after the making of a bona fide offer or to refuse to negotiate for the sale or rental of, or otherwise make unavailable or deny, a dwelling to any person because of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, elderliness, or familial status;

2. To discriminate against any person in the terms, conditions, or privileges of sale or rental of a dwelling, or in the provision of services or facilities in the connection therewith to any person because of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, elderliness, or familial status;

3. To make, print, or publish, or cause to be made, printed, or published any notice, statement, or advertisement, with respect to the sale or rental of a dwelling that indicates any preference, limitation, or discrimination or an intention to make any such preference, limitation or discrimination based on race, color, religion, national origin, sex, elderliness, familial status, or handicap. The use of words or symbols associated with a particular religion, national origin, sex, or race shall be prima facie evidence of an illegal preference under this chapter which shall not be overcome by a general disclaimer. However, reference alone to places of worship including, but not limited to, churches, synagogues, temples, or mosques in any such notice, statement or advertisement shall not be prima facie evidence of an illegal preference;

4. To represent to any person because of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, elderliness, familial status, or handicap that any dwelling is not available for inspection, sale, or rental when such dwelling is in fact so available;

5. To deny any person access to membership in or participation in any multiple listing service, real estate brokers' organization, or other service, organization or facility relating to the business of selling or renting dwellings, or to discriminate against such person in the terms or conditions of such access, membership, or participation because of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, elderliness, familial status, or handicap;

6. To include in any transfer, sale, rental, or lease of housing, any restrictive covenant that discriminates because of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, elderliness, familial status, or handicap or for any person to honor or exercise, or attempt to honor or exercise any such discriminatory covenant pertaining to housing;

7. To induce or attempt to induce to sell or rent any dwelling by representations regarding the entry or prospective entry into the neighborhood of a person or persons of a particular race, color, religion, national origin, sex, elderliness, familial status, or handicap;

8. To refuse to sell or rent, or refuse to negotiate for the sale or rental of, or otherwise discriminate or make unavailable or deny a dwelling because of a handicap of (i) the buyer or renter, (ii) a person residing in or intending to reside in that dwelling after it is so sold, rented or made available, or (iii) any person associated with the buyer or renter;

9. To discriminate against any person in the terms, conditions, or privileges of sale or rental of a dwelling, or in the provision of services or facilities in connection therewith because of a handicap of (i) that person, (ii) a person residing in or intending to reside in that dwelling after it was so sold, rented or made available, or (iii) any person associated with that buyer or renter.

B. For the purposes of this section, discrimination includes: (i) a refusal to permit, at the expense of the handicapped person, reasonable modifications of existing premises occupied or to be occupied by any person if such modifications may be necessary to afford such person full enjoyment of the premises; except that, in the case of a rental, the landlord may, where it is reasonable to do so, condition permission for a modification on the renter's agreeing to restore the interior of the premises to the condition that existed before the modification, reasonable wear and tear excepted; (ii) a refusal to make reasonable accommodations in rules, practices, policies, or services when such accommodations may be necessary to afford such person equal opportunity to use and enjoy a dwelling; or (iii) in connection with the design and construction of covered multi-family dwellings for first occupancy after March 13, 1991, a failure to design and construct dwellings in such a manner that:

1. The public use and common use areas of the dwellings are readily accessible to and usable by handicapped persons;

2. All the doors designed to allow passage into and within all premises are sufficiently wide to allow passage by handicapped persons in wheelchairs; and

3. All premises within covered multi-family dwelling units contain an accessible route into and through the dwelling; light switches, electrical outlets, thermostats, and other environmental controls are in accessible locations; there are reinforcements in the bathroom walls to allow later installation of grab bars; and there are usable kitchens and bathrooms such that an individual in a wheelchair can maneuver about the space. As used in this subdivision the term “covered multi-family dwellings” means buildings consisting of four or more units if such buildings have one or more elevators and ground floor units in other buildings consisting of four or more units.

C. Compliance with the appropriate requirements of the American National Standards for Building and Facilities (commonly cited as “ANSI A117.1”) or with any other standards adopted as part of regulations promulgated by HUD providing accessibility and usability for physically handicapped people shall be deemed to satisfy the requirements of subdivision B 3.

D. Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to invalidate or limit any Virginia law or regulation which requires dwellings to be designed and constructed in a manner that affords handicapped persons greater access than is required by this chapter.

Credits

Acts 1972, c. 591, § 36-91; Acts 1973, c. 358; Acts 1978, c. 138; Acts 1984, c. 685; Acts 1985, c. 344; Acts 1989, c. 88; Acts 1991, c. 557; Acts 1992, c. 322; Acts 1996, c. 327.

 

§ 36-96.3:1. Rights and responsibilities with respect to the use of an assistance animal in a dwelling

A. A person with a disability, or a person associated with such person, who maintains an assistance animal in a dwelling shall comply with the rental agreement or any rules and regulations of the property owner applicable to all residents that do not interfere with an equal opportunity to use and enjoy the dwelling and any common areas of the premises. Such person shall not be required to pay a pet fee or deposit or any additional rent to maintain an assistance animal in a dwelling, but shall be responsible for any physical damages to the dwelling if residents who maintain pets are responsible for such damages in accordance with such documents or state law. Nothing herein shall be construed to affect any cause of action against any resident for other damages under the laws of the Commonwealth.

B. If a person's disability is obvious or otherwise known to the person receiving a request, or if the need for a requested accommodation is readily apparent or known to the person receiving a request, the person receiving a request for reasonable accommodation may not request any additional verification about the requester's disability. If a person's disability is readily apparent or known to the person receiving the request but the disability-related need is not readily apparent or known, the person receiving the request may ask for additional verification to evaluate the requester's disability-related need.

C. A person with a disability, or a person associated with such person, may submit a request for a reasonable accommodation to maintain an assistance animal in a dwelling. Subject to subsection B, the person receiving the request may ask the requester to provide reliable documentation of the disability and the disability-related need for an assistance animal, including documentation from any person with whom the person with a disability has or has had a therapeutic relationship.

D. Subject to subsection B, a person receiving a request for a reasonable accommodation to maintain an assistance animal in a dwelling shall evaluate the request and any reliable supporting documentation to verify the disability and the disability-related need for the reasonable accommodation regarding an assistance animal.

E. For purposes of this section, “therapeutic relationship” means the provision of medical care, program care, or personal care services, in good faith, to the person with a disability by (i) a mental health service provider as defined in § 54.1-2400.1; (ii) an individual or entity with a valid, unrestricted state license, certification, or registration to serve persons with disabilities; (iii) a person from a peer support or similar group that does not charge service recipients a fee or impose any actual or implied financial requirement and who has actual knowledge about the requester's disability; or (iv) a caregiver, reliable third party, or government entity with actual knowledge of the requester's disability.

Credits

Added by Acts 2017, c. 575; Acts 2017, c. 729.

 

§ 36-96.3:2. Reasonable accommodations; interactive process

A. When a request for a reasonable accommodation establishes that such accommodation is necessary to afford a person with a disability, and who has a disability-related need, an equal opportunity to use and enjoy a dwelling and does not impose either (i) an undue financial and administrative burden or (ii) a fundamental alteration to the nature of the operations of the person receiving the request, the request for the accommodation is reasonable and shall be granted.

B. When a request for a reasonable accommodation may impose either (i) an undue financial and administrative burden or (ii) a fundamental alteration to the nature of the operations of the person receiving the request, the person receiving the request shall offer to engage in a good-faith interactive process to determine if there is an alternative accommodation that would effectively address the disability-related needs of the requester. An interactive process is not required when the requester does not have a disability and a disability-related need for the requested accommodation. As part of the interactive process, unless the reasonableness and necessity for the accommodation has been established by the requester, a request may be made for additional supporting documentation to evaluate the reasonableness of either the requested accommodation or any identified alternative accommodations. If an alternative accommodation is identified that effectively meets the requester's disability-related needs and is reasonable, the person receiving the reasonable accommodation request shall make the effective alternative accommodation. However, the requester shall not be required to accept an alternative accommodation if the requested accommodation is also reasonable. The various factors to be considered for determining whether an accommodation imposes an undue financial and administrative burden include (a) the cost of the requested accommodation, including any substantial increase in the cost of the owner's insurance policy; (b) the financial resources of the person receiving the request; (c) the benefits that the accommodation would provide to the person with a disability; and (d) the availability of alternative accommodations that would effectively meet the requester's disability-related needs.

C. A request for a reasonable accommodation shall be determined on a case-by-case basis and may be denied if (i) the person on whose behalf the request for an accommodation was submitted is not disabled; (ii) there is no disability-related need for the accommodation; (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. With respect to a request for reasonable accommodation to maintain an assistance animal in a dwelling, the requested assistance animal shall (a) work, provide assistance, or perform tasks or services for the benefit of the requester or (b) provide emotional support that alleviates one or more of the identified symptoms or effects of such requester's existing disability. In addition, as determined by the person receiving the request, the requested assistance animal shall not pose a clear and present threat of substantial harm to others or to the dwelling itself that is not solely based on breed, size, or type or cannot be reduced or eliminated by another reasonable accommodation.

Credits

Added by Acts 2017, c. 575; Acts 2017, c. 729. 

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