Property Manager or Association President
Dear Property Manager or Association President:
I am currently a resident and the owner of your condo name and your address and am writing this letter to request an accommodation for my disability as covered by the Fair Housing Amendments Act of 1988 and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.
While I understand there may be a “no-pets” rule in effect, my physician has prescribed the use of an emotional support animal to mitigate the effects of my chronic disabling condition. As required by federal and state law, I am requesting, as a reasonable accommodation, that you waive any “no-pets” policy which may be in effect to accommodate my need for an emotional support animal.
This accommodation is requested in accordance with the attached letter from my physician, who has prescribed, as necessary, an emotional support companion animal for me.
On March 24, 2008, in response to a question regarding “…service animals and/or emotional support animals in a ‘no pet’ building…” Attorney Gary Poliakoff, renowned expert in condo law, wrote,
“…The Courts and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) have interpreted the aforesaid requirement to allow not only trained service animals, but also emotional support animals. Proposed HUD Rules on the subject will vastly expand the definition of those pets allowed to such an extent, that if approved, will pretty much eviscerate no pet restrictions.” (Palm Beach Post, Condominium Law Q&A, March 24, 2008
As of October 27, 2008, those proposed rules were in fact approved. To read the entire text of the published rule approval, go to http://edocket.access.gpo.gov/2008/E8-25474.htm.
Highlights of the text include the following:
- HUD reaffirms that it is the arbiter of Fair Housing Act rules for people with disabilities. The Department of Justice, which administers the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) has different rules related to “public accommodations”. HUD establishes rules relevant to housing consistent with the Fair Housing Act. The rule approval discusses HUD’s authority at length.
- Per HUD, the Fair Housing Act does not require a person to be certified as disabled to have a right to an emotional support animal in their home. In contrast, per ADA, a person may need to be certified as disabled to have a right to certain accommodations such as having an assistive animal in an airplane, store, or other public accommodations.
- Per HUD, the Fair Housing Act does not require an emotional support animal to have special training. The intrinsic nature of the animal is the source of the emotional support – no special training required. In contrast, under ADA, a service animal may be required to receive or demonstrate special training.
Will you allow me to have my emotional support animal in my unit based on documentation I have provided from my _______________[doctor/therapist]? Please contact me by certified mail by 30 days from date of letter to confirm approval of this requested accommodation. If I do not hear from you by then, I will assume that you have approved my request.
CC: Your County Office of Equal Opportunity
Your County Legal Aid Society