Posts Tagged ‘service dog housing’
Service Dogs and Their Rights
Service dogs, under the Americans with Disabilities Act, have numerous rights. The ADA protects the rights of those with disabilities from discrimination, and give service animals the right to perform their duties so those with disabilities can participate in everyday life. Service animals, such as dogs and miniature horses, are individually trained to perform specific tasks related to the person’s disability. The general rules about how service dogs can interact with the world around them are quite specific.
When it comes to landlords and tenancy, some landlords will have a “no pets” policy on their premises. This, if not handled, can potentially cause problems for those who have pets. However, if your animal if a service animal, you do not have to worry about any of the legal repercussions of your service animal, as they and you are protected under the ADA. If you are not ready to train or buy a service dog you may still benefit from an emotional support animal or ESA.
The beauty of having a service animal is that you don’t need to prove anything to be given access. The ADA does not require service animals to have vests, leashes, or gear that identifies them as being a service animal, nor does the ADA handle any of the specifications involving training and certifying service animals. Training and qualifying service animals fall under any organization that trains service animals for those with disabilities. As long as you have your documentation on you, knowing that you are disabled and have a service animal gives you the benefit of protection under the ADA. So, what happens when someone does doubt your disability or service dog? Here’s where the ADA jumps in once more.How The ADA Benefits You:
The ADA specifically limits the power of those who run goods and services operations in favor of protecting the rights of the disabled. A landlord, a business owner, or a covered entity employee are only allowed to ask two questions in regards to a service animal:
1. Is the dog a service animal required because of a disability? 2. What work or task has the dog been trained to perform?
With these two questions specially lined up, staff are not allowed to request documentation for the dog, ask it to demonstrate its tasks or inquire about the nature of the person’s disability. For instance, if you’re heading into a hotel that doesn’t allow pets to accommodate the rooms, as long as you know, by documentation and medical records that you are a disabled person and have a trained service dog, then that means that you and your pet will be allowed to occupy that premise. With very few exceptions to this rule, the ADA gives you and your service animal access to public spaces.How Does the ADA Apply to Housing?
Housing falls under the Fair Housing Act, an act that explains the housing obligations of providers in relation to their residents. The FHA follows the rules and regulations of the Americans with Disabilities Act, which in turn provides specific instructions for housing providers in their cases for accommodating those with disabilities.
Because landlords are not allowed to ask about the documentation for the animal, ask for a demonstration for the dog’s abilities, and inquire about the disabled person’s disabilities, then that means that the landlord has to accommodate for the new tenant and their service animal. By doing so, they must permit the disabled person to live within the housing residency through a modification or exception to their “no pets” policy. Other entities that are also subjected to the ADA and FHA acts are public housing agencies, rental offices, shelters, residential homes, multi-family housing, dorm rooms at universities and colleges, and assisted living facilities.So, What Animals Need A Letter?
Emotional support animals are the type of assistance animals that would need a letter to be approved for housing. This is because ESA’s are not protected under the American’s with Disabilities Act. However, for those with emotional support animals, they can request a letter from their mental health professional for accommodations, as those letters provide one of the main leeways for access to housing with a “no pets” policy.
According to an article published by NIMH, younger adults tend to believe that landlords and property managers discriminate against their animals, specifically if they have large dogs or dogs of a specific breed. Many would also speak of how properties that did accept pets would be less than substandard quality in comparison to the landlord’s pool of available listings and also report paying non-refundable pet fees and monthly pet rents.
For the tenants that contributed to the study, many said residents staying put in their rental apartments longer than those who do not have pets, given the difficulty of finding a place that will accommodate dogs. This difficulty, according to the results of the study, shows that this situation influences the types of dogs younger adults to acquire, such as smaller dogs that are known to work better in apartments. The presented case specifically references pets, not service animals. However, for those with service animals of specific or large breeds, conflicts can occur if the tenant has issues.What does the ADA say about service dog breeds?
The Americans with Disabilities Act describes in great detail about the role of service dogs as well as their rules and regulations. Because service dogs have specific rights to public places, it means they can also be any breed.
The ADA does not restrict the type of dog breed that can qualify for a service dog. Because any breed can be a service animal, facilities do not have the right to exclude a service animal based on the animal’s breed. Only if the animal has a history of misbehavior or is not under adequate control of the handler that the animal would be excluded, municipalities that have ordinances for certain breeds must also comply with ADA regulations, thus are not allowed to exclude a service animal off of fears or generalizations of that specific breed.
Because any breed of dog can be a service dog, facilities do not have the right to exclude a service dog based on the dog’s breed. Only if the animal has a history of misbehavior or is not under adequate control of the handler that the animal would be excluded, municipalities that have ordinances for certain breeds must also comply with ADA regulations, thus are not allowed to exclude a service dog off of fears or generalizations of that specific breed. Read: This means Pit bulls too!Does the Fair Housing Act allow landlords to deny certain breeds as emotional support dogs?
The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) uses a broader term, assistance animals, to encompass animals such as service dogs, therapy dogs, and emotional support animals.
The Fair Housing Act, which outlines the specific protocols and regulations that tenants and residents must follow, argues that housing providers cannot apply breed, size, or weight restrictions to assistance animals. It also agrees with ADA’s protocol that the removal of an animal must be based on the actual animal behavior, and not the assumptions and fears of the type of harms that could potentially happen. This also has protection under the FHA in regards to the potential resident, as those with disabilities are not allowed to be discriminated against because of those disabilities. In alignment with ADA and FHA, service dogs and emotional support dogs cannot be refused. Please note that ESA registration is not required by law, but can assist in identifying your animal as an emotional support animal to your landlord or HOA.
TLDR: Your assistance animal (service animal or emotional support dog) cannot be denied based on breed, size, or weight.What to do if your landlord refuses to accommodate?
If your request is reasonable and the landlord denies it, you, as a person with a disability, have the right to request your local government agency to investigate in the matter in claims of discrimination. Some options include:You can file a discrimination complaint with the Department of Housing and Urban Development, either online or you can call the Housing Discrimination Hotline: (800) 669-9777. You can also file a complaint directly with your state’s agency if they investigate discriminatory claims. You can contact a disability attorney. Can landlords still charge pet fees?
Because service dogs and assistance animals are not considered pets, landlords, co-ops, and HOA’s are not allowed to charge tenants with extra pet fees or pet deposits. However, a tenant can still be charged fees for damages done by the animal to the home. It is also possible to charge residents if the animal is not able to be removed from the premises for misbehavior and/or damages.
If you cannot reach an amicable agreement with your landlord and you suspect they are discriminating agains you, you can seek support from your local Fair Housing Authority. It’s essential to file the discrimination within one year after the date of the discriminatory act, but it is recommended that it should be filed as soon as possible. The HUD or Fair Housing will then either investigate or submit it to another agency to investigate. As the HUD centers around those with disabilities, those that feel their rights were discriminated against can lead to legal actions such as compensation, changes in policies, and discrimination training. If you’re looking to file a discriminatory complaint, you can find more information about the investigation process on the HUD.gov website.
Understanding Service Dog rights will help you be better equipped to stand up for yourself. The media can often portray people without a visible and physical disability as taking advantage of the system. But if you are suffering from anxiety, depression, PTSD, or any other invisible disability you know this is far from the truth. We will go through 5 steps you can take to make your dog a Service Dog. Once you have completed these steps, you will be able to live with your Service Dog without worry.Step #1 – Know Your Rights Step #2 – Train Your Dog Step #3 – Certify your Service Dog Step #4 – Inform your Landlord Step #5 – Live Life Step #1 – Understanding your rights as a Service Dog Handler
A landlord must grant access to a certified Service Dog. Below are items they cannot do –They cannot charge a pet deposit or monthly fee for a Service Dog They cannot deny access based on breed (such as a Pitbull or Doberman) They cannot deny access based on weight They can deny access if your Service Dog has caused harm to others
A dog trained to perform tasks to aid a person’s disability is considered a Service Dog. A Service Dog and their handler are protected by the Department of Justice and the Americans with Disability Act.Step #2 – Train your Service Dog There are multiple levels of service dog training.
The first one is basic training. This will include teaching your dog standard good citizen behavior. This includes the tasks below –– Sit (on demand and must maintain sit until handler releases them) – Stay (on demand and does not move until handler releases them) – Come (immediately comes to handler and ignores distractions) – Heel (walks with the handler without pulling the leash) – Place (immediately goes to a spot and sits until handler releases them)
The second step is to train your service dog to perform specific tasks for your disability. This section is more complicated and personal. Examples of Service Dog Tasks are deep pressure therapy during an anxiety attack or mobility assistance such as picking up a dropped item or retrieving medicine. To read more about service dog training – you may read this helpful guide.Step #3 – Order your Service Dog Vest and Service Dog Certification
Once your service is trained, you may choose to register them with Service Dog Certifications. You will order a custom Service Dog license showing you are traveling with a trained and legitimate service dog.
It is also recommended that your service dog wear a vest. This is not required by the ADA but many handlers find it convenient. Unfortunately, people in the service industry are not well versed in Service Dog Regulations and may attempt to hassle you without a service dog vest.
Before you inform your landlord that you have a service dog, make sure you understand your rights. Landlords cannot charge a service dog handler a monthly “pet fee” or a special “pet deposit”. They cannot discriminate against you due to your dog’s weight or breed. In addition, your landlord cannot ask you to disclose your disability or force your service dog to “perform” for them. Your landlord may request to see your certification or demand your Service Dog wear a vest. Although you do not need to comply with this, we recommend doing so for your personal convenience.
In the rare case that your landlord is hostile to your service dog after seeing your certification, document everything. We recommend only communicating via email. This will help you in the case that you need to bring a discrimination case against your landlord.
Please do note, your landlord will have a right to deny access to your Service Dog if they can show your dog poses a harm to others.Step #5 – Live a happier and more fulfilled life
Beyond living with you, a legitimate and certified service dog can travel with you to almost all public places. For a helpful guide on how to travel with your service dog and communicate with others, please read this guide to Service Dog Laws.