Federal Law For Esa?

sabrinah

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There's a US Department of Housing and Urban Development PDF that sums things up. There's too much about this story we don't know to decide whether it was ok to evict them because of the dogs.

HUD States:

"Housing providers are to evaluate a request for a reasonable accommodation to possess an assistance animal in a dwelling using the general principles applicable to all reasonable accommodation requests"

They must consider:
"(1)Does the person seeking to use and live with the animal have a disability — i.e., a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities?
(2) Does the person making the request have a disability-related need for an assistance animal? In other words, does the animal work, provide assistance, perform tasks or services for the benefit of a person with a disability, or provide emotional support that alleviates one or more of the identified symptoms or effects of a person's existing disability?
If the answer to question (1) or (2) is "no," then the FHAct and Section 504 do not require a modification to a provider's "no pets" policy, and the reasonable accommodation request may be denied."

It's possible the lady never met those two criteria. Furthermore,

"Housing providers may ask individuals who have disabilities that are not readily apparent or known to the provider to submit reliable documentation of a disability and their disability-related need for an assistance animal."

"the housing provider may ask persons who are seeking a reasonable accommodation for an assistance animal that provides emotional support to provide documentation from a physician, psychiatrist, social worker, or other mental health professional that the animal provides emotional support that alleviates one or more of the identified symptoms or effects of an existing disability."

If she didn't appear to need an assistance animal and refused to provide any proof of needing an ESA she isn't exactly helping her own case.

There's also the question of the dog's behavior. I love pitties, but they're big, and big dogs can make a lot of noise and cause a lot of damage if not actually trained. I've seen SO MANY assistance animals (ESAs and fake service dogs) that are lunging, barking and growing at people and dogs, peeing on things indoors, etc.

"A determination that an assistance animal poses a direct threat of harm to others or would cause substantial physical damage to the property of others must be based on an individualized assessment that relies on objective evidence about the specific animal's actual conduct — not on mere speculation or fear about the types of harm or damage an animal may cause and not on evidence about harm or damage that other animals have caused."

So if she didn't meet the 2 criteria, didn't provide any proof, and/or her dogs were out of control (whether aggressive or not) she can be kicked to the curb.
 

war&wisdom

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It's also entirely possible that this is the reason why she was evicted, though.

I qualify for an ESA and have an official note from my doctor, and my previous landlord threw it in my face (along with the info packet about housing laws that I had printed for him) and said that I should have told him I had "emotional problems" earlier so that he could have denied my application to live here. (I got approved for an ESA after moving in.) That's illegal too, by the way...

This man also claimed that indoor cats would bring all types of vermin into the house somehow. When I explained that not only would our cats be indoor-only and live on the second floor, but also that cats have been used to get rid of "vermin" for decades, he told me not to try to "confuse [him] with evidence."

By the way, he had previously consented to us having a cat but didn't remember saying so.

Some people just don't accept that ESAs are a real thing. Also, some people are just nuts.
 

Willowy

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Direct answer to the question: yes, if you follow all the proper protocols, landlords must allow ESAs regardless of their pet policy. It's considered treatment for a mental issue and can't be denied. Although I think there are exceptions for people who only have a few rental units.

I think you only get one ESA. Although if they're a couple and both have notes from their doctors, that should cover having 2 dogs.

It sounds like they didn't have a doctor's note on file with the landlord. You can't just bring a pet in without doing all the paperwork and say "it's OK, he's an ESA". You do have to follow protocol.

And I think landlords who have less than a certain number of rental units can refuse to accomodate ESA's just like small businesses are exempt from a lot of employment laws. But it sounds like their building is run by the Housing Authority, so that doesn't apply.

Now that it's gotten some attention, if the eviction is illegal it should be cleared up fairly easily.

Regardless of anything else, if an ESA or even a Service Dog is badly behaved, they can be evicted. It doesn't sound like they got any complaints about that though.

One of the dogs has obviously had pups very recently. I don't think any landlord wants a litter of puppies in an apartment. I wonder what they did with the pups? Some apartment complexes have rules about running a business out of your apartment, and selling puppies would qualify.

In short: it doesn't sound like they did it correctly. IF the dogs are even legitimate ESAs, which seems doubtful.

I'm always suspicious of people whose pit bulls have cut ears, or who backyard breed :/ (well, only one has cut ears. Both have had puppies though, one quite recently). I mean, I'm against cropping in general but with pit bulls in particular I always think they're trying to make a statement that isn't about good things. I'd probably be more on their side if the dog's ears weren't cut and they hadn't been bred. My own personal prejudice I guess.
 
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war&wisdom

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Just to be clear, I obviously have no idea of the lady in this story has a real case. I just wanted to offer my own experience (in which I did a ton of research, discussed the issue with my psychiatrist, followed all the guidelines, and still got treated badly by my landlord) to say that it is possible for someone to deny a legitimate ESA claim.
 
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