18% of Reasonable Accommodation Requests Have Insufficient Documentation, Unresponsive Verifiers or Fraud

Posted by David on Jun 25, 2019 11:30:00 AM
David

PetScreening.com, a first-of-its-kind screening platform that empowers property managers to outsource their pet risk assessment and assistance animal validation processes at no charge, today announced that an internal analysis of its data found that 18-percent of reasonable accommodation requests had insufficient documentation, unresponsive third-party verifiers, or were discovered to be fraudulent.

Infographic: Assistance Animals by the numbersThe study, which examined 8,600 reasonable accommodation requests submitted to PetScreening.com by prospective residents, also known as Requesters, found that the pit bull variety is the dog breed most commonly submitted for reasonable accommodation requests. The results of the study highlight the importance of properly confirming the reliability and credibility of third-party verifier documentation for reasonable accommodation requests, according to John R. Bradford, III, CEO and founder of PetScreening.com.

“For individuals who do not have a readily apparent disability, requiring and reviewing third-party verifier documentation to support the Requester’s reasonable accommodation request is critical. This maintains the integrity of necessary and legitimate assistance animals for individuals with a disability and disability-related need for the animals,” Bradford said.

“Unfortunately, there are bad actors that are abusing this process to possibly avoid pet rent or circumvent pet policies such as breed restrictions. There are many individuals with legitimate disabilities and disability-related needs for assistance animals, who shouldn’t be put at risk or receive a negative reputation just because of these bad actors.”

Property managers are often hesitant to ask for third-party verifier documentation for fear of violating Fair Housing laws and HUD guidelines, making it difficult to uphold the integrity of the accommodation request review process. But new technology and databases, like PetScreening.com, help address these concerns by utilizing their electronic accommodation request review process and in-house legal review team. They review each reasonable accommodation request, adhere to the FHAct guidelines, and validate the third-party verifier documentation as reliable, credible and meets the test of reasonableness.

This standardizes the property manager’s reasonable accommodation request review process, saves time and helps mitigate liability for a possible discrimination complaint. Submitting a reasonable accommodation request for an assistance animal through the PetScreening platform is free to the Requester and the property manager.

PetScreening.com also screens pets and their respective owners because not all pet owners are responsible. Applicants with a pet(s) pay a nominal fee at the time they apply for a rental home and enter important information about their specific pet, including their general care and understanding of pet policies, into the only centralized pet-screening database to analyze rental housing-related risk. The platform reviews various pet-related factors, including community-specific restrictions, such as breed, weight and age, and then creates a FIDO Score™. This proprietary scoring system can be used to generate new pet-related revenue opportunities such as additional pet rents, non-refundable fees, and deposits – with the primary purpose to help cover any additional risk the housing provider is taking with the pet and its owner.

Property managers can also require non-pet owners, at no charge, to formally acknowledge pet-related policies that apply to them at the time of application. Through Petscreening.com, non-pet owners agree to policies that, among other examples, prohibit them from using their homes for pet-sitting services and require them to properly report any pet or animal they acquire during their lease term. PetScreening also provides property managers with the ability to record and report noteworthy pet and animal incidents. Examples include bites, property damage, unauthorized pets, pet waste offenders and more. These incident reports are shown in the digital profiles and follow the pet and pet owner to future rentals – ensuring future property managers and owners are aware of previous concerning behavior.

Topics: Press Release