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Condominium Pet Policy vs. Service Animal Request

by Anita Byer, President - The Human Equation on 2/19/2013
woman in condo with dog on her lap

In a previous article we discussed what can happen when a condominium association improperly handles an accommodation request involving a service animal. Unfortunately, a recent federal case in Florida shows that some associations are still struggling with requests for service animals.

In this case, a veteran of the U.S. Air Force suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) was told he could not keep his dog because it exceeded the association’s 25-pound limit. The unit owner sent a letter from his treating physician stating that the emotional support animal was prescribed to help the unit owner cope with his PTSD-related depression, stress and anxiety. The physician then provided two more letters describing the nature of the disability and the need for an emotional support animal in greater detail.

Nevertheless, the association requested more information from the unit owner and his physician. After several months without a response, the association formally demanded removal of the dog. After filing a complaint with the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Florida Commission on Human Relations, the unit owner sued the association under the federal and Florida Fair Housing Act (FHA) for denying him a reasonable accommodation.

The Human Equation's newsletters and publications are intended as an information source for the clients and friends of the firm. Their content should not be construed as legal advice, and readers should not act upon the information in these publications without professional guidance. Please note that newsletters and publications that are archived by The Human Equation are not updated after initial publication and may not contain the most current information available.

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