This week’s news is a year old, but very important for apartment owners and managers confronted by the increasing flood of fake emotional support animal requests.* In March of 2017 the Virginia Fair Housing Board, which carries out Virginia’s mandate for disability rights in housing, issued a formal guidance on what constitutes reliable evidence of a disability and a disability related need for an emotional support animal. You can download the guidance here, but here are the highlights. They are based on the Board’s position that reliable evidence of a disability can only come from someone who has a therapeutic relationship with the tenant. More
By Richard Hunt in Accessibility Litigation Trends, FHA, FHA Emotional Support Animals, FHA Guidance, FHA Regulation, HOA, Policies and Procedures FHA ADA Tags: assistance animals, FHA "dwelling", FHA reasonable accommodation, HUD regulations, Sanzaro
Sanzaro v. Ardiente Homeowners Ass. et al, 2:11-cv-01143-RFB, 2017 WL 5895133 (D. Nevada June 29, 2017) asks whether the clubhouse in a planned development is a “dwelling” for purposes of the Fair Housing Act. The Court doesn’t answer the question, but is one worth thinking about when trying to decide how the idea of disability discrimination applies to common areas in any kind of housing development or apartment complex.
The Fair Housing Act itself has a somewhat confusing definition of dwelling. A “dwelling” is:
any building, structure, or portion thereof which is occupied as, or designed or intended for occupancy as, a residence by one or more families, and any vacant land which is offered for sale or lease for the construction or location thereon of any such building, structure, or portion thereof. More
The Department of Justice and Housing and Urban Development have just issued a guidance document concerning sober homes and other types of group living arrangements. It should help provide some clarity to cities and towns still wrestling with issues related to group living after decades of litigation. At the same, however, the document reminds us of the sobering reality that the Department of Justice and Housing and Urban Development believe they are above the law in their roles as advocates for the disabled, and will not hesitate to use their essentially unlimited resources to litigate intellectually unsustainable positions. More