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Condo | HOA Lawyers

Emotional Support Animal – Even the FHA Has Limits

A unit owner claimed that she needed an emotional support animal because of a disability, and provided a doctor’s note to the condominium association supporting this need. The unit owner selected a dog as the emotional support animal, and as a reasonable accommodation the association agreed to allow the dog into a no-pet building.  The unit owner demanded the right to take the dog everywhere, including into the swimming pool, making various arguments and attaching various Fair Housing Act articles relating to the need to allow people with disabilities equal access to the property of an association.  Although the association was willing to make reasonable accommodations, it learned from the local health inspector that if the dog went into the pool, the pool would need to be closed.  When presented with this information, the disabled resident stopped demanding the dog’s access to the pool, even though she never agreed that she did not have that right.

Lesson: Sometimes simply getting the unit owner or resident to abide by a reasonable result is sufficient, and you don’t need the unit owner or resident to actually agree.

Dealing with requests for emotional support animals is tricky. An attorney who specializes in condominium law can assist you through the process.  If your association is unsure of how to respond to a request for an emotion support animal, or if they are thinking of denying a request for an emotional support animal, contact us.  We have the experience and expertise to help your association and reduce the risk of any successful suit against the association.


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