BunnuvaSitch asked in PetsOther - Pets · 1 decade ago

Apartment Service Animal Policies?

I'm curious as to how the service animal policies for most apartment complexes work. What information do they usually request before allowing a tenant to have a service animal? Will they ask for some sort of certificate for my dog, stating she's a service animal? What kinds of questions can they ask about why I have a service animal?

Any and all information is appreciated. I know the best thing to do is to ask the individual apartment managers, but I wanted to get a general idea of what I'm getting into here.


I should add that she's home-trained, and so does not have any sort of "certification" for her work.

2 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    The ADA doesn't generally apply to housing except in a very few cases. Most housing is covered under the FHAA, which is a good thing, actually, because the ADA is much more strict on the training required of service dogs than is the FHAA.

    The first question is whether we are dealing with an Emotional Support Animal or a Service Animal. Housing requirements are a little different depending on which one.

    If the animal is not individually trained to perform specific tasks to mitigate the handler's disability, then it is not a service animal. If the handler is disabled and receives psychiatric benefit from the companionship of the animal and is prescribed by a mental health professional, then no special training is required because it is considered an Emotional Support Animal, rather than a service animal.

    Here's an article explaining the differences further: http://servicedogcentral.org/content/node/76

    Since your animal is stay-at-home, I suspect it is an ESA.

    For an ESA, the apartment management can require a prescription from a mental health professional explaining that the person is under their treatment, that they are disabled by mental illness, and that the presence of the animal is necessary for their mental health. The letter should be no more than 1 year old and on the doctor's letterhead.

    You may need to write a letter requesting a reasonable accommodation. Here are instructions on how to do that: http://servicedogcentral.org/content/node/257

    Edit: I re-read your question and may have misunderstood. You said "home trained" rather than "stay at home."

    If your animal is task trained, as described above, then it may be a service animal. You may be expected to provide some sort of proof of training. An evaluation by a professional service dog trainer would be best, but one from another kind of professional dog trainer might suffice. Generally speaking, a demonstration of the dog's training would be sufficient to convince most landlords that the dog is trained.

    Housing is different than public access. For public access they cannot require demos or certification, but for housing they can. The reason is that the relationship between landlord and tenant is of much longer duration than that of patron and proprietor.

    There is some case law, specifically the Bronk case, which indicates that proof of training can be required in housing, even for a service dog. You can review this case at: http://servicedogcentral.org/content/node/187 and read an analysis at: http://www.iaadp.org/court.html

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    They have to allow service dogs. They can ask for a certificate. If they deny you due to your dog, you can turn them into authorities for violating the ADA.

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