Fair Housing Act covers emotional support animal

by Sue on January 16, 2013

AVENTURA, Fla. – Sept. 28, 2012 – The Fair Housing Act does more than protect homeowners or renters who use a support-services animal – it also protects residents who need an animal for emotional support. While the definition of an emotional support animal goes beyond “I love him,” the Fair Housing Act covers residents or potential residents who rely on an emotional support animal.

The issue raises questions from landlords and homeowner associations. An existing rule on pets, for example – such as an additional pet deposit – doesn’t apply to support animals under The Fair Housing Act.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced yesterday they reached a Conciliation Agreement with Point Three East Condominium Association in Aventura, Fla., over the issue. The condo association allegedly refused to allow a resident to keep an emotional support animal, even though the resident provided medical documentation attesting to her need for the accommodation. HUD also found that some of the board members who denied the resident’s request had, or previously had, animals in their units.

Under the agreement, Point East Three Condominium Association will allow the resident to keep her emotional support animal and pay her $18,000. In addition, the condominium association will enact a reasonable accommodation policy and obtain fair housing training for all its board members.

“Condo associations are not exempt from adherence to the Fair Housing Act,” said Carlos Osegueda, HUD’s Region IV director for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity. “Their policies and practices cannot discriminate against persons with disabilities, and HUD will continue to take action anytime we find that they do.”

For more information on emotional support animals protected by The Fair Housing Act, visit the American Bar Association website.

People who believe they are victims of housing discrimination can contact HUD at (800) 669-9777 (voice) or 1 (800) 927-9275 (TTY).

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

1 SUZANNE LEMISCH 03.25.13 at 4:01 pm

I WAS CHARGED PET FEES FOR: MY SERVICE DOG, AND EMOTIONAL SUPPORT CAT. I LIVE IN CALIFORNIA – AM I ENTITLED TO A

REFUND OF FEES UNDER THE AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT OF 1990?

2 Barbara Dretke 01.17.16 at 8:45 pm

My Dr. has written a statement stating that I have paroxysmal atrial fibrillation, peripheral arterial disease and hypertension and hypertension. She said I would benefit from a companion dog.

When she gave me this, she stated that she could not go into your medical information because of privacy laws.

Now the Association wants another form filled out asking:
What limitations my condition causes
How the animal would help with these limitations
Would that information be something she could share or is it confidential between patient and dr. I really don’t want to bother her further if she can’t answer these questions.

Maybe another question would be is she required to answer these questions under this under the Fair Housing Act.

3 Barbara Dretke 01.17.16 at 8:48 pm

Is the Fair Housing Act the same in each State? My Dr. is in Washington and my Condo Association is asking me to send her questions that fall under the Florida Fair Housing Act.

4 Sue 01.20.16 at 3:36 pm

I am sorry but we do not have medical information on our website.

As for your other question. Yes. The questions have to be answered.

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