This blog and the next were prompted by two recent efforts by state officials to deal with the problem of emotional support animals. One was a decision from the Iowa Supreme Court that puts a state law overlay on how to deal with conflicts between disabled and non-disabled tenants. You can find the details in William Goren’s blog.¹ The other was a recent legislative effort in Florida, the passage of Senate Bill 1084, which adds specific anti-discrimination provisions for emotional support animals.² These are far from the first efforts at the state level to do something about animals and disabilities,³ but they illustrate the problems these laws create for landlords trying to deal with fake emotional support animal requests.(4) More
By Richard Hunt in Accessibility Litigation Trends, FHA, FHA definition of handicap, FHA Emotional Support Animals, FHA Guidance, FHA Training Tags: assistance animals, Emotional Support Animals, FHA Defense, HUD guidance, service animals
On April 14 at 2:00 p.m. CST I’ll be presenting a one hour webinar on HUD’s January 2020 guidance on reasonable accommodations for animals. I’ll cover what HUD got right and wrong in this guidance and explain what housing providers need to know about the reasonable accommodation process in light of the guidance. Written materials include modified decision tree for accommodation requests.
The course is sponsored by the University of Texas School of Law and is approved for CLE credit. If you are interested in registering, this link will take you to the registration page:
By Richard Hunt in Accessibility Litigation Trends, FHA, FHA definition of handicap, FHA Emotional Support Animals, FHA Guidance, FHA Regulation Tags: assistance animals, Emotional Support Animals, FHA, FHA Defense, Guidance on Reasonable Accommodations under the Fair Housing Act Relating to Assistance Animals, HUD, Internet fraud
On January 28, 2020 HUD issued its “Guidance on Reasonable Accommodations under the Fair Housing Act Relating to Assistance Animals.”† Over the course of 19 poorly written and poorly organized pages HUD provides one crumb of help for housing providers faced with bogus requests for emotional support animals. The bulk of the “Guidance” is a confused repetition of various earlier HUD positions that defy common sense and the law.
For landlords the most important part of this Guidance is HUD’s acknowledgement that letters purchased on the internet are not reliable evidence of a disability or a disability related need for an emotional support animal. We’ve known this for years, but it’s nice that the bureaucrats have finally recognized it as well. However, this means almost nothing as I’ll discuss below. More
By Richard Hunt in Accessibility Litigation Trends, ADA FHA General, Animals, FHA definition of handicap, FHA Emotional Support Animals, FHA Guidance, Landlord-tenant Tags: Emotional Support Animal, Fair Housing Act, FHA Guidance, FHA medical verification
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