Psychological service animal, renting and the ADA?

My family and I are moving into a new apartment. My daughter has a therapy dog and I have one to. My daughter has bi-polar and I have schizo-affective disorder. They were our service animal for a few years and the new apartment management want us to prove we have these disorders and that the animals are trained. I don't have any documentation on the training. I have my psychologist and her psychologist's letter attesting to the disorder,but not on training. What can I do and does the fal under ADA

4 Answers

  • 6 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    The ADA does not apply to housing unless the housing is owned by the government.

    The FHAact is what applies to most housing, but there are exemptions to this as well.

    To have a service dog or ESA in 'no pets' housing, the person must meet the legal definition of being mentally ill or disabled, be under the continuous care of a professional psychiatrist or psychologist, have an established treatment plan in place for the mental illness or disability, and have the psychiatrist or psychologist make an assertion that the presence of the animal is deemed a necessary part of the ongoing treatment regimen.

    Then the person must file and have approved a "Request for Reasonable Accommodation" with the landlord/manager/owner BEFORE bringing the animal on the premises. The Request should state why the animal is being requested, include the treating psychiatrists or psychologists written affirmation (on the psychiatrist’s or psychologist’s official office letterhead) that the animal is part of the persons treatment regimen for their mental illness or disability, and show that the person has the proper levels of liability insurance on the animal being requested.

    There is no legal requirement for the demonstration of what the dog is trained for or any legal requirement for proof of training.

    There is also no 'national registry' from which one can have their dog 'certified' from, as every registry currently available is nothing but a scam and a fraud intended to separate stupid people from their money. There is no legal requirement for any type of 'paperwork' for a service dog or ESA, as no type of 'paperwork' legally exists. The law does not require or recognize any type of 'service dog ID', as all the websites offering such are scams and frauds.

  • Docar
    Lv 6
    6 years ago

    It would come under the fair housing act.

    The Fair Housing Act does not define "service animal" per se, and does not make a distinction among certified service animals, non-certified animals, animals that provide psychological support, and service animals in training that live with the people with disabilities for whom they will work. The Act does not have restrictions about who may train the animal.

    Since anyone can train a service animal including the person who the animal provides a service to (most service animals get some sort of training before they meet their owners and finish their more specific training with their new owners) you could train the animals yourself.

    Check with HUD for more specifics.

    Good Luck!

  • 6 years ago

    Under the Fair Housing act:

    The service animal is not required to be certified

    If they reject you based upon improper questions

  • 4 years ago

    These laws often "overlap" - see your own state as many Fair Housing laws are different in each state (federal versus state) but state law can not be weaker then federal law.


    Housing issues with a service animal typically fall under one of three federal laws:

    Each of these laws apply in different kinds of housing, and not all housing is covered by even one of them. This is a complex area of disability law which will require consultation with a qualified attorney to truly understand how the laws apply in a specific situation. This article is meant as just a general overview of disability housing laws, and not a complete accounting for every possible type or housing or housing issue.

    The Fair Housing Amendments Act of 1988 extended the protections of Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968 (the Fair Housing Act) to people with disabilities. This is the law that applies to most forms of housing, including most rental housing and most condominiums. Exceptions to this law include buildings with four or fewer units where the landlord lives in one of the units, and (b) private owners who do not own more than three single family houses, do not use real estate brokers or agents, and do not use discriminatory advertisements.

    Protection under the FHAA is contingent upon:

    (1) Tenant has a disability (case law suggests the landlord may be permitted to require proof of disability);

    (2) Landlord/Housing Authority knows about disability;

    (3) Reasonable accommodation may be necessary to afford tenant an equal opportunity to use and enjoy his or her dwelling (again, case law suggests the landlord may be permitted to require proof of need and proof of training for a service dog); and

    (4) Reasonable accommodation would not constitute an undue burden or fundamental alteration.

    Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 applies to programs that receive federal assistance, such as public or subsidized housing. Landlords who accept only Section 8 rental assistance are not subject to Section 504.

    Protection under Section 504 is contingent upon:

    (1) Tenant has a disability;

    (2) Tenant was excluded from and denied participation in services, programs, and activities;

    (3) Exclusion was because of disability; and

    (4) Reasonable accommodation would not constitute an undue burden or fundamental alteration.

    Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 applies to housing owned by state or local government, or its instrumentalities, regardless of federal financial assistance. This would include local housing agencies, such as a public housing authority.

    Protection under Title II is contingent upon:

    (1) Tenant has a disability;

    (2) Tenant was excluded from and denied participation in services, programs, and activities;

    (3) Exclusion was because of disability; and

    (4) Reasonable accommodation would not constitute an undue burden or fundamental alteration.

    Note that under the ADA, emotional support animals are not generally considered a reasonable accommodation as they are excluded by lack of training from 28 CFR 36.104, the definition of "service animal," under the Americans with Disabilities Act:

    "Service animal means any guide dog, signal dog, or other animal individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability, including, but not limited to, guiding individuals with impaired vision, alerting individuals with impaired hearing to intruders or sounds, providing minimal protection or rescue work, pulling awheelchair[sic], or fetching dropped items."

    Some general guidelines on how disability law tends to deal with service animal issues (remember to consult a qualified attorney to learn whether these guidelines would apply in any given specific situation)

    In general:

    1. A landlord cannot require a pet deposit for a service animal. However, the owner of the service animal is liable for any damages caused by the animal above and beyond the normal wear and tear a human tenant might reasonably cause. This includes teeth marks on trim, carpet torn by a dog's digging, and carpet soiled by dog waste or vomit.

    2. A landlord might or might not be permitted to require a pet deposit for an emotional support animal.

    3. A landlord is permitted to require some sort of proof of disability as a condition of accommodation, and some sort of proof the animal in question is a trained service animal, though generally he cannot require certification per se.

    4. A landlord is permitted to exclude an animal, including a bona fide service animal, if the presence of the animal causes a fundamental alteration of the goods and services offered to other tenants. For example, a dog that nuisance barks keeping neighbors awake at night causes a fundamental alteration and may be banned from the premises, though the landlord should permit the human tenant to remain without the dog if the tenant so chooses.

    5. A landlord is permitted to exclude an animal, including a bona fide service animal, if the animal poses a direct threat. For example, an animal permitted to deposit fecal material in a common area where that material is not immediately cleaned, poses a health threat to people using that common area, particularly when the common area is where children might play on the ground. If the tenant is not able to clean their dog's waste area themselves, it falls on the tenant, not the landlord, to secure the services of someone to do the cleaning for them.

    A tenant's first step in dealing with a housing issue should be to write the landlord a letter requesting a reasonable accommodation. If the landlord fails to respond to the written request or refuses the accommodation, the tenant may choose to pursue the matter by filing a complaint with HUD or the U.S. Department of Justice.

    Filing a Complaint

    Housing discrimination complaints can be filed with Housing and Urban Development:

    Complaints may be filed online, by phone (1 (800) 669-9777), or by mail using a downloaded form.

    Species Restrictions

    While only dogs are considered service animals under the ADA (and some accommodations may be required for the use of some miniature horses), the Fair Housing Act has no such restriction. While the ADA does not include emotional support animals, the FHA does. Some housing providers will be subject to the ADA, such as government owned housing. Some will be subject to the FHA, such as most landlords with more than four units. Some will be subject to both, and some to neither. Wherever the FHA applies, common domestic species are included as assistance animals, but where the ADA applies, only dogs are. Where both apply the FHA multiple species policy applies.

    Breed Restrictions

    A landlord is permitted to refuse accommodation for a service animal based on breed if allowing the animal would constitute an undue burden. An example might be if the landlord's insurance carrier would drop his coverage if an animal of a restricted breed were kept on the premises.

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