[2020 UPDATE] Can a Condo Association Deny an Emotional Support Animal?

HOA said NO to your Emotional Support Animal?

New Laws Tighten ESA Rules.

New Federal and state rules designed to combat online fraud now require a much higher burden of proof for those claiming a disability-related need for an emotional support animal letter.

Patches, ID cards, certificates, or similar registration will no longer suffice. Clinicians are prohibited from providing written documentation by merely assessing a client's need for an assistance animal. Landlords are reporting emotional support animal fraud to the US Department of Justice.

From HUD's Update.

The dangers of buying counterfeit emotional support animal letters aren’t always obvious. There are economic impacts, legal implications, and other risks that are important for you to know before making a purchase. Counterfeiters don’t care about your well-being. They just want to make a profit.

"Some websites sell certificates, registrations, and licensing documents for assistance animals to anyone who answers certain questions or participates in a short interview and pays a fee."

In 2020, these counterfeit documents are being summarily rejected by housing providers across the US.

Attention Clients, Don't Leave Anything to Chance.

Housing Pro 2020 fully complies with the recently updated guidance requiring providers to have “personal client knowledge" and an "ongoing treating relationship."

All of our products include therapeutic care with a licensed clinician in your area.

Now, before we begin, let’s disclose we’re not lawyers, fair housing experts, or the such. We do not accept any liability for the following information. Buyer beware.

Recently, a client sent along their HOA agreement, asking us for our opinion on its contents. That agreement, an eight-page document, was a typical example of what comes out of a California condo association.

Condo Pet Policy Enforcement Gone Wrong

In other words, the HOA agreement violated Federal Law left and right.

Problem: The HOA asks for access to a medical professional and medical documentation.

HOA Document:

  • provide completed copies of the Affidavit of Treating Physician.
  • after reviewing the submitted request form.
  • a physician may provide verification of the disability/handicap through the use of the Association’s form Affidavit of Treating Physician.
  • which may include medical records evidencing dates of diagnosis and treatment for the disability/handicap

FHAct ([see FHEO-2013-01, April 25, 2013]) states:

“A housing provider also may not ask an applicant or tenant to provide access to medical records or medical providers or provide detailed or extensive information or documentation of a person’s physical or mental impairments.”

Emotional Support Animal Letters That Work.

Our clients typically aren’t the Groupon crowd, they’re seeking a premium product; they aren’t just “buying a letter from us,” they’re buying all that goes into the best emotional support animal products on the market.

So, why don’t we sell a $79 letter?

Problem: The HOA requires ‘certification’ or training.

HOA Document: all certifications or training the animal possesses and to maintain an identification tag and service animal vest on the animal.

FHAct ([see FHEO Notice FHEO-2013-01, April 25, 2013]) states:

“for the purposes of reasonable accommodation requests, neither the FHAct nor Section 504 requires an assistance animal to be individually trained or certified.”%%CTA2%%

Problem: The HOA cannot limit where you take your ESA.

HOA Document: The emotional support/service animal is required to be walked in certain designated areas which may differ depending on the location of the unit and the owner’s disability/handicap. If the request is granted, the Association will provide you with the designated area for walking the animal.

FHAct ([FHEO-2013-01, April 25, 2013] p. 3) states:

“…to permit a person with a disability to live with and use an assistance animal(s) in all areas of the premises where persons are normally allowed to go…”

Our Emotional Support Animal letter of Recommendation

The ESAD Intl. housing assessment contains carefully selected Fair Housing language that meets the disability verification standards defined by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development.

As a disabled person requiring an assistance animal, you are entitled to an equal opportunity to use and enjoy any dwelling you qualify for, and our assessment provided should help secure those housing rights.

If your fair housing rights are threatened, or the assessment we’ve provided is wrongfully rejected by your landlord, property manager, or housing provider, there are additional steps that can be taken to help you.