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Old 07-14-2012, 03:14 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Service Dog & Landlord Issues

One of my fosters,Bella is a certified Seizure Alert Dog.I have a potential adopter for her,but her landlord will not let her have Bella even though she is a service dog,and I do have proof of that. This woman is epileptic and isn't just trying to get around the complexes' rule of 15 pounds and under. She has talked to the landlord,but the landlord is very adamant about the 15 pounds and under rule.

The woman did say that she would move because she really wants Bella,but is there anything that she can do to convince her landlord otherwise? Has anyone else run into this situation. The potential adopter does know the laws pertaining to service dogs,but hasn't presented that to the complex yet. I have recommended that to her.

Last edited by Gharrissc; 07-14-2012 at 03:16 AM.
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Old 07-14-2012, 03:20 AM   #2 (permalink)
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I'm pretty sure it's against the law what that guy is trying to do by not allowing the service dog. The dog isn't a pet... it's medical equipment. That's kind of like saying no wheel chairs allowed in the apartment.

I'm no lawyer, but I'm pretty sure if this went to court, the landlord would lose.

Tell her to lawyer up or at least threaten the guy with potentially having to deal with her lawyer. The idea of a court battle might make him think a little clearer about what he's doing.
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Old 07-14-2012, 06:10 AM   #3 (permalink)
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I'll mention that to her as well.
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Old 07-14-2012, 07:39 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gharrissc View Post
One of my fosters,Bella is a certified Seizure Alert Dog.I have a potential adopter for her,but her landlord will not let her have Bella even though she is a service dog,and I do have proof of that. This woman is epileptic and isn't just trying to get around the complexes' rule of 15 pounds and under. She has talked to the landlord,but the landlord is very adamant about the 15 pounds and under rule.

The woman did say that she would move because she really wants Bella,but is there anything that she can do to convince her landlord otherwise? Has anyone else run into this situation. The potential adopter does know the laws pertaining to service dogs,but hasn't presented that to the complex yet. I have recommended that to her.

There is nothing you can do to convince the landlord except remind him that any adverse action towards the tennant over this issue is in clear violation of several federal laws including but not limited to :

Fair Housing Amendments Act
Americans with Disabilities Act
Rehab Act Section 504

The best way to look at this is simply to accept the FACT that your adopter dosent need the landlords permission. Service animals are not pets. All your adopter needs to do is adopt the animal, and be smart enough not to give the landlord a different excuse to evict.
All that being said, its not really a good idea to make trouble with a landlord if your not ready for it, but this is a battle your potential "adopter" can win if they are willing to fight, should they decide its worth the trouble.
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Old 07-14-2012, 07:52 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Lucy Dog View Post
I'm pretty sure it's against the law what that guy is trying to do by not allowing the service dog. The dog isn't a pet... it's medical equipment. That's kind of like saying no wheel chairs allowed in the apartment.

I'm no lawyer, but I'm pretty sure if this went to court, the landlord would lose.

Tell her to lawyer up or at least threaten the guy with potentially having to deal with her lawyer. The idea of a court battle might make him think a little clearer about what he's doing.
Its alot worse than that. The landlord can be held liable for any "damages" suffered by the tennant, which could be pretty extensive should the tennant suffer a seizure without anyway to "alert" anyone of their emergency need for medical attention.

HA - therin lies the solution. The foster of Bella should just call the landlord and ask him/her what is their plan should the above actually occur !!
Also ask for the landlords "address for service of process" and dont say why you need it, just say you need it, and remind them you are documenting the phone call.
I guarantee if they are professionals that will scare the everloving daylights out of them.
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Old 07-15-2012, 06:53 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
The potential adopter does know the laws pertaining to service dogs,but hasn't presented that to the complex yet.
Make sure the potential adopter is aware that housing laws must be looked at in a different manner than say normal Public Access Rights. Different laws and different regulatory federal agencies.

The first thing a tenant needs to do is to determine what type of housing that is involved and then find the law that pertains to it.

The Fair Housing Amendments Act of 1988 (FHAA)
The most common for rental units and condominiums
Exceptions:
* Buildings with four or fewer units where the landlord lives in one of the units
* 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.

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973
Is the housing under any federal assistance? (Public or Subsidized Housing excluding Section 8)

Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990
Housing owed by Local or State Agencies.

In various cases that have gone to court the ruling has been that the landlord may require documentation that the individual is disabled per the qualifications of the particular regulatory agency.
* Having a certain medical condition does not always qualify as a disability under the regulating agency. The individual would need something from their treating doctor stating that in the doctor's medical opinion that the person meets that agency's disability level.
* The landlord may be allowed to request documentation of training (not just an ID card purchased over the Internet stating the dog is *Certified*).
* Landlord may be able to restrict size or breed of dog if their insurance company has placed those restrictions.

Once the tenant knows which law they fall under they can use that information when writing a letter requesting a reasonable accommodation. (Tenant should not rely on a verbal request and a verbal answer from their landlord.)

If there are any problems or concerns after doing basic research, it is recommended that the tenant finds a qualified attorney (one who knows SD law) who can work with them.

Even after a tenant receives a written accommodation from their landlord they may be subject to future legal actions from the landlord to remove the dog from the property.

Also, if the property changes ownership and/or source of funding, the process may have to begin over again.
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Last edited by ILGHAUS; 07-15-2012 at 07:22 PM. Reason: Typo making statement unclear.
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Old 07-15-2012, 07:17 PM   #7 (permalink)
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As in any dispute or concern on SD matters it is always advisable to not automatically believe that a threat of involvement by a lawyer will end up to the handler's satisfaction.

Any case going into litigation can be settled for either party.

Housing litigation can drag on for a year or more.

Once going into the court system information can be requested by the judge that the tenant may not want other parties to have access to.
* Medical records may have to be made available (and yes the other side will be able to know what is in those records) showing that the level of the tenant's medical condition meets the regulatory agency's definition of disabled.
* Training records (including any documents, video, statements by professional individuals or organizations) of the dog may be called for.
Again, this is not an ID or a piece of paper with "Certification" printed on it.
* Judge may request that the handler demonstrates what the dog has been trained to do that will mitigate the handler's disability. It is likely that the Judge will not accept a statement that "the dog alerts to my medical condition".
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Old 07-28-2012, 02:09 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Old 09-26-2012, 09:19 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ILGHAUS View Post
Make sure the potential adopter is aware that housing laws must be looked at in a different manner than say normal Public Access Rights. Different laws and different regulatory federal agencies.

The first thing a tenant needs to do is to determine what type of housing that is involved and then find the law that pertains to it.

The Fair Housing Amendments Act of 1988 (FHAA)
The most common for rental units and condominiums
Exceptions:
* Buildings with four or fewer units where the landlord lives in one of the units
* 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.

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973
Is the housing under any federal assistance? (Public or Subsidized Housing excluding Section 8)

Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990
Housing owed by Local or State Agencies.

In various cases that have gone to court the ruling has been that the landlord may require documentation that the individual is disabled per the qualifications of the particular regulatory agency.
* Having a certain medical condition does not always qualify as a disability under the regulating agency. The individual would need something from their treating doctor stating that in the doctor's medical opinion that the person meets that agency's disability level.
* The landlord may be allowed to request documentation of training (not just an ID card purchased over the Internet stating the dog is *Certified*).
* Landlord may be able to restrict size or breed of dog if their insurance company has placed those restrictions.

Once the tenant knows which law they fall under they can use that information when writing a letter requesting a reasonable accommodation. (Tenant should not rely on a verbal request and a verbal answer from their landlord.)

If there are any problems or concerns after doing basic research, it is recommended that the tenant finds a qualified attorney (one who knows SD law) who can work with them.

Even after a tenant receives a written accommodation from their landlord they may be subject to future legal actions from the landlord to remove the dog from the property.

Also, if the property changes ownership and/or source of funding, the process may have to begin over again.
May request documentation of training? This seems to suggest that professional training isn't required.

http://2012.servicedogsfl.org/brochu...etPolicies.pdf

" A service animal need not have been professionally trained, Green v. Housing Authority of Clackamas County, 994 F.Supp. 1253 (D.Or.1998), and in fact many service animals are trained by their handlers"
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Old 09-26-2012, 09:24 PM   #10 (permalink)
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I know this may be difficult to do, but I hide my cats from my landlord. I've even had the pleasure *not so much* of him dropping by one day without me knowing. Luckily I was home and stuck my cats inside their taxis, into a cardboard box and into the car fairly quickly and discreetly (

If he shows up and inspects the house without me knowing, I will tell him I am babysitting...
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