I have written a number of articles about whether a condominium or homeowner association (or apartment owner) needs to allow emotional support animals. Delta airlines new policy related to service and emotional support animals created some controversy and was heavily reported in national news. As service and emotional support animals become more commonplace, questions keep coming up, and so associations need to be reminded of what to do when a resident wants to keep a support animal.
To review, there are two federal laws to follow: the Americans With Disabilities Act (“ADA”) and the Fair Housing Act (“FHA”). The ADA says that a service dog is permitted in all public places. A service dog is an animal that is specially trained to perform a task that is directly related to a person’s disability. Under the FHA, providers of housing – like a landlord of condominium association – need to provide reasonable accommodations for assistance animals. Unlike a service dog, an “assistance animal” does not need to be specially trained to perform a task. They can provide only emotional support for a person with a disability. The definition of assistance animal or emotional support animal is much broader than a service animal under the ADA.