Current through Acts 2023-2024, ch. 488, and 2023EX1, ch. 4
Section 66-7-111 - Exception to policy prohibiting or limiting, or requiring payment for, animals or pets for tenant or prospective tenant with disability who requires use of service animal or support animal(a) As used in this section:(1) "Disability" means: (A) A physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one (1) or more major life activities;(B) A record of an impairment described in subdivision (a)(1)(A); or(C) Being regarded as having an impairment described in subdivision (a)(1)(A);(2) "Health care" means any care, treatment, service, or procedure to maintain, diagnose, or treat an individual's physical or mental condition;(3) "Healthcare provider" means a person who is licensed, certified, or otherwise authorized or permitted by the laws of any state to administer health care in the ordinary course of business or practice of a profession;(4) "Reliable documentation" means written documentation provided by: (A) A healthcare provider with actual knowledge of an individual's disability;(B) An individual or entity with a valid, unrestricted license, certification, or registration to serve persons with disabilities with actual knowledge of an individual's disability; or(C) A caregiver, reliable third party, or a governmental entity with actual knowledge of an individual's disability;(5) "Service animal" means a dog or miniature horse that has been individually trained to work or perform tasks for an individual with a disability; and(6) "Support animal" means an animal selected to accompany an individual with a disability that has been prescribed or recommended by a healthcare provider to work, provide assistance, or perform tasks for the benefit of the individual with a disability, or provide emotional support that alleviates one (1) or more identified symptoms or effects of the individual's disability.(b) A tenant or prospective tenant with a disability who requires the use of a service animal or support animal may request an exception to a landlord's policy that prohibits or limits animals or pets on the premises or that requires any payment by a tenant to have an animal or pet on the premises.(c) A landlord who receives a request made under subsection (b) from a tenant or prospective tenant may ask that the individual, whose disability is not readily apparent or known to the landlord, submit reliable documentation of a disability and the disability-related need for a service animal or support animal. If the disability is readily apparent or known but the disability-related need for the service animal or support animal is not, then the landlord may ask the individual to submit reliable documentation of the disability-related need for a service animal or support animal.(d) A landlord who receives reliable documentation under subsection (c) may verify the reliable documentation. However, nothing in this subsection (d) authorizes a landlord to obtain confidential or protected medical records or confidential or protected medical information concerning a tenant's or prospective tenant's disability.(e) A landlord may deny a request made under subsection (b) if a tenant or prospective tenant fails to provide accurate, reliable documentation that meets the requirements of subsection (c), after the landlord requests the reliable documentation.(f)(1) It is deemed to be material noncompliance and default by the tenant with the rental agreement, if the tenant:(A) Misrepresents that there is a disability or disability-related need for the use of a service animal or support animal; or(B) Provides documentation under subsection (c) that falsely states an animal is a service animal or support animal.(2) In the event of any violation under subdivision (f)(1), the landlord may terminate the tenancy and recover damages, including, but not limited to, reasonable attorney's fees.(g) Notwithstanding any other law to the contrary, a landlord is not liable for injuries by a person's service animal or support animal permitted on the premises as a reasonable accommodation to assist the person with a disability pursuant to the Fair Housing Act, as amended, (42 U.S.C. §§ 3601 et seq.); the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (42 U.S.C. §§ 12101 et seq.); Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended, (29 U.S.C. § 701) ; or any other federal, state, or local law.(h) Only to the extent it conflicts with federal or state law, this section does not apply to public housing units owned by a governmental entity.Added by 2019 Tenn. Acts, ch. 236, s 3, eff. 7/1/2019.