Governor Ivey Signs REALTOR® Assistance and Service Animal Bill into Law
March 19, 2018
On March 15, at 11:09 am, Governor Ivey signed HB 198, the Alabama Assistance and Service Animal Integrity in Housing Act, into law, now known as Act No. 2018-235. The law does two things: 1) it codifies federal law, allowing landlords to request documentation of a disability or the need for an assistance animal in certain situations, and 2) it creates a penalty for misrepresenting the need for a service or assistance animal and a penalty for misrepresenting an animal as a service or assistance animal.
The penalty for a first-time offense is either a civil fine or a class C misdemeanor, at the discretion of a judge, and, for second or subsequent offenses, a violator will be charged with a class B misdemeanor.
Alabama REALTORS® thanks Governor Ivey and bill sponsors Representatives Matt Fridy (R-Montevallo) and Joe Lovvorn (R-Auburn) and Senator Tom Whatley (R-Auburn) for their support of this important piece of legislation.
Rep. Matt Fridy
Rep. Joe Lovvorn
Sen. Tom Whatley
Alabama Assistance and Service Animal Integrity in Housing Act
REALTORS® advanced an initiative to help combat the misrepresentation and undocumented presentation of pets as service and/or assistance animals. This issue has spread widely across the state with the ability to go online and access fraudulent service and companion animal documentation with no medical evaluation and/or verification. Service animals are highly-trained, disciplined, and skilled working animals that assist people with disabilities with many important and critical tasks of day-to-day life. The aim of the REALTOR® bill is to deter fraudulent activity, while protecting those with a medically-documented need of a service or assistance animal and provide clear guidance for real estate professionals working with consumers in this area of real estate.