Exceptions were often made for Service Dogs owned by the blind or severely handicapped.
Now, legal precedents have expanded the Service Dog rules to include the emotional support of "Assistance Animals." Faced with choosing between their dream home and their forever pet, dog owners are beginning to resort to a "Nuclear Option."
While it can't hurt to have a doctor's note prescribing the need for the animal, Americans With Disability(ADA) and Fair Housing regulations state that
When it is not obvious what service an animal provides, only limited inquiries are allowed. Staff may ask two questions: (1) is the dog a service animal required because of a disability, and (2) what work or task has the dog been trained to perform. Staff cannot ask about the person’s disability, require medical documentation, require a special identification card or training documentation for the dog, or ask that the dog demonstrate its ability to perform the work.conceivably be applied to almost any animal.
The owner can be charged for actual damage done by the animal, but they may not require the applicant to pay a fee or a security deposit in order to keep the animal.
If this process becomes seriously abused by pet owners, we can expect pushback from the owners of multifamily homes and apartment complexes. Since Fair Housing regulations are federally mandated, appeals of the substantial fines may ultimately wind up in the Supreme Court.