Many landlords require tenants to submit a “reasonable accommodation form.” Nowadays, a correctly completed document is as important as your emotional support animal letter. To aid in this effort, ESADoggy retains an expert in fair housing law.
- This service cannot be purchased separately, nor can we “combine” a form with a letter from another health care provider.
- You must be assessed by an ESADoggy Therapist as to your “disability and disability-related need for an assistance animal.”
Signed Verification Form
Similar to a reasonable accommodation form, landlords sometimes require just a therapist’s signature certifying the need for an assistance animal.
Reasonable Accommodation Form FAQs
What is a Reasonable Accommodation Form?
Housing Providers are required to provide a reasonable accommodation in their rules, policies practices and procedures and allow reasonable modifications (changes to the physical structure) for qualified individuals (persons with disabilities) as defined by law.
When considering a reasonable accommodation/modification request a Housing Provider can only take the following into consideration:
Is the individual (or the intended tenants of the housing) which is the subject of the request, qualified? (Is the individual a person with a disability as defined by law or is the housing designed to serve persons who are disabled as defined by law?)
Is the request for a accommodation or modification necessary? (This is not determined by the Housing Provider but by the individual pr developer of the housing and confirmation can be requested to be provided by a medical health professional.)
Would the requested accommodation impose an undue financial or administrative burden? (For a modification this in only considered if the modification is to be paid for by the housing provider. Please consult HUD or DFEH to determine if the Housing Provider is required to pay for the modification.)
Would the requested accommodation or modification require a fundamental alteration in the nature of the program?
The Housing Provider should not ask about the nature or severity of the disability in question. The Housing Provider need only consider whether or not the request is ‘reasonable’ in terms of cost and alteration of their housing program. They may ask questions which will clarify what it is about the policy, practice or procedure that serves as a barrier (so that the housing provider may offer an alternative ‘solution’ if the requested accommodation is not ‘reasonable’.) They should not attempt to determine whether or not the request is necessary for the individual(s) in question. That is up to the individual and their advisors.
Who must comply with this requirement?
The requirement to provide reasonable accommodations applies to, but is not limited to individuals, corporations, associations and others involved in the provision of housing or residential lending, including property owners, housing managers, homeowners and condominium associations, lenders, real estate agents, and brokerage services. This also applies to state and local governments, most often in the context of exclusionary zoning or other land-use decisions
Who is a person with a disability?
The Fair Housing Act defines a person with a disability to include (1) individuals with a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities; (2) individuals who are regarded as having such an impairment; and (3) individuals with a record of such an impairment.
This may include, but is not limited to, such diseases and conditions as orthopedic, visual, speech and hearing impairments, cerebral palsy, autism, epilepsy, muscular dystrophy, multiple sclerosis, cancer, heart disease, diabetes, Human Immunodeficiency Virus infection, mental illness, drug addiction (other than addiction caused by current, illegal use of a controlled substance) and alcoholism.
The term “major life activity” means those activities that are of central importance to daily life, such as seeing, hearing, walking, breathing, performing manual tasks, caring for one’s self, learning, and speaking.8 This list of major life activities is not exhaustive
When is a reasonable accommodation necessary?
A requested accommodation is necessary when there is an identifiable relationship, or nexus, between the requested accommodation and the individual’s disability. Some examples of Reasonable Accommodations are:
- Assigned parking space for a person with a mobility impairment
- Assigned lower mailbox for a person who uses a wheelchair
- Permitting an assistance animal in a “no pets building for a person who is deaf, blind, has seizures, or has a mental disability
What is an assistance animal?
An assistance animal is not a pet. It is an animal that works, provides assistance, or performs tasks for the benefit of a person with a disability, or provides emotional support that alleviates one or more identified symptoms or effects of a person’s disability. Assistance animals perform many disability-related functions, including but not limited to, guiding individuals who are blind or have low vision, alerting individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing to sounds, providing protection or rescue assistance, pulling a wheelchair, fetching items, alerting persons to impending seizures, or providing emotional support to persons with disabilities who have a disability-related need for such support.
For purposes of reasonable accommodation requests, neither the Fair Housing Act nor Section 504 requires an assistance animal to be individually trained or certified.5 While dogs are the most common type of assistance animal, other animals can also be assistance animals.
What information may a provider seek when a reasonable accommodation is requested?
A provider is entitled to obtain information that is necessary to evaluate if a requested reasonable accommodation may be necessary because of a disability. If a person’s disability is obvious, or otherwise known to the provider, and if the need for the requested accommodation is also readily apparent or known, then the provider may not request any additional information.
If the disability and/or the disability-related reason for the requested accommodation is not known or obvious, the requesting individual, medical professional, a peer support group, a non-medical service agency, or a reliable third party who is in a position to know about the individual’s disability may also provide verification of a disability. In most cases, an individual’s medical records or detailed information about the nature of a person’s disability is not necessary for this inquiry.
When may a housing provider refuse to provide a requested accommodation?
A housing provider can deny a request for a reasonable accommodation if the request was not made by or on behalf of a person with a disability or if there is no disability-related need for the accommodation. In addition, a request for a reasonable accommodation may be denied if providing the accommodation is not reasonable – i.e., if it would impose an undue financial and administrative burden on the housing provider or it would fundamentally alter the nature of the provider’s operations. The determination of undue financial and administrative burden must be made on a case-by-case basis involving various factors, such as the cost of the requested accommodation, the financial resources of the provider, the benefits that the accommodation would provide to the requester, and the availability of alternative accommodations that would effectively meet the requester’s disability-related needs.
When a housing provider refuses a requested accommodation because it is not reasonable, the provider should discuss with the requester whether there is an alternative accommodation that would effectively address the requester’s disability-related needs without a fundamental alteration to the provider’s operations and without imposing an undue financial and administrative burden. These discussions often results in an effective accommodation for the requester that does not pose an undue financial and administrative burden for the provider.
What about charging fees to cover the cost of providing an accommodation?
Housing providers may not require persons with disabilities to pay extra fees or deposits as a condition of receiving a reasonable accommodation.
Where can I find information on reasonable accommodations, reasonable modifications, and assistance animals?
Can you notarize my letters and forms?
We are not lawyers, and the following should have not considered the legal advice.
As Federal Law does not require the signature on a reasonable accommodation form to be notarized, our therapists do not have the ability to notarize that document. Based on our understanding of Fair Housing Act requirements, the notarization is an “extra” hurdle that’s placed in front of an individual with a disability, and therefore not allowed.