Many of us understand that during tough times your pet can be a pillar of support.
Here at ESAD, our Augusta, GA Emotional Support Animal recommendation letter can ensure your pet will always be close.
If you've encountered a "no pets" housing policy, you can feel like being between a rock and a much harder rock. Do you want a roof over your head, or live with your pet?
Well, now you can have both!
Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Fair Housing Amendments Act of 1988, and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act protect the rights of disabled individuals that require "Augusta, GA emotional support animals." Because emotional support animals are not "pets," but rather are considered to be more like assistive aids such as wheelchairs, the law will frequently require a landlord to make an exception to its "no pets" policy so that a tenant with a disability can fully use and enjoy their dwelling.
PROTIP: Establishing that the support animal is necessary to enjoy and use the residence is critical.
A tenant requesting an emotional support animal as a reasonable accommodation must demonstrate a relationship between their ability to function and the companionship of the animal.
Federal Law regarding Augusta, GA Emotional Support Animals
Federal Law allows a licensed mental health provider to recommend qualified individuals an emotional support animal. Traditionally, this is an untrained dog or cat that helps treat its owner for symptoms such as anxiety, panic attacks, depression, insomnia, and PTSD.
The statutes recognize three broad categories of disabilities: (1) a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities (such as walking, working, washing, learning, dressing, etc.); (2) a record of impairment; or (3) being regarded as having such an impairment.
HUD and Housing Providers for your Augusta, GA Emotional Support Animal
HUD and housing providers take the following into consideration:
(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?
Augusta, GA Emotional Support Dog
From HUD's guidelines, "such documentation is sufficient if it establishes that an individual has a disability and that the animal in question will provide some type of disability-related assistance or emotional support."
Continuing, "a housing provider may not ask a tenant or applicant to provide documentation showing the disability or disability-related need for an assistance animal if the disability or disability-related need is readily apparent or already known to the provider."
What exactly is a reasonable accommodation?
FHA discrimination includes "a refusal to make reasonable accommodations in rules, policies, practices, or services, when such accommodations may be necessary to afford [a person with a disability] an equal opportunity to use and enjoy a dwelling."
So, if your requested accommodation doesn't unduly burden (financially or administratively) your landlord, nor can it fundamentally alter the housing complex, the owner must provide housing.
HUD and several courts have explicitly stated that an exception to a "no pets" policy would qualify as a reasonable accommodation.
A landlord can ask for supporting documentation defining the need for an emotional support animal, but a tenant is not required to provide proof of training or certification of the animal.
An Unruly Augusta, GA Emotional Support Animal
Should the emotional assistance animal be particularly disruptive or bother other tenants, the landlord may be justified in denying accommodation or ultimately filing for an eviction.
Additional Augusta, GA Pet Deposits
Typically, under the ADA, FHA, and § 504, when making reasonable accommodations, landlords are required to incur some expenses, so long as those costs are not an undue financial burden.
Emotional assistance animals that assist persons with disabilities are considered to be auxiliary aids and are exempt from the refundable pet deposit.