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I'm Lucy, and I'd be happy to answer your questions today.
The Fair Housing Act unfortunately prohibits landlord from discriminating against tenants with disabilities and requires reasonable accommodations. It is considered a reasonable accommodation to allow a person to have a service animal. You're allowed to request documentation from a doctor showing that the person really needs a service animal, however, the Fair Housing Act does not place any limitations on what a service animal may be - it doesn't have to be a dog, or a specific breed of dog. If someone is claiming the need for an emotional support animal, it can be any pet at all.
The best thing you can do is write to your legislators, because it's shameful the way people use this loophole to get around pet restrictions so they can live wherever they want. You can ask that the FHA be amended so service animals are subject to the same requirements as under the Americans with Disabilities Act - namely, that they be trained to provide a specific function to the person claiming a disability. But until the law is changed, if someone can produce documentation from a doctor that they need a pit bull or other large dog, you have to allow it. I wish I could tell you otherwise.
It's important that you are 100% satisfied with my courtesy and professionalism. Thank you.
Yes, it does.
Just a letter from a doctor. There isn't any type of certification for support animals. That's part of the problem - I could claim my cats are emotional support animals, and who could say I was lying?
Any licensed doctor in your state. You can ask for a statement of the patient's condition (i.e., what disability do they have) and that they NEED an animal to alleviate one or more symptoms of that condition.
YOU don't call their doctor. THEY have to GO to their doctor and get a note. HIPAA doesn't apply to people asking their doctors to give out medical information in order to provide them with a benefit.
ANY LICENSED DOCTOR can write the note. If a chiropractor has a medical license, they can write the note. If they don't, they can't.
I'm still referring to the Fair Housing Act. That applies to this situation.
You could object to a letter from an out-of-state doctor on the grounds that the letter has to be from someone who is actually treating the person. But it's honestly easy enough to find a doctor nearby who will write a letter that I've never seen someone try to use a letter from a doctor in another state.
Members of the House of Representatives for your district and the Senators from Wyoming can propose changes to federal laws.
Statutes are VERY general. Most of what we've talked about is in the interpretation, not the statute itself. The statutes don't spell out what type of doctor can write a note. They can't, because it takes YEARS to change a law (and a lot of taxpayer money). There isn't a specific section that says who has to provide documentation. The only thing the law says is that you have to make reasonable accommodations. Beyond that, it's all a question of what's reasonable. And that's where doctors notes and things come in.
I have no idea what you're reading that says they can't produce a note from a family doctor.
Federal law always supercedes contrary state law under the Supremacy Clause to the U.S. Constitution. State law can be MORE protective of an individual's rights than federal law, but not less.
OK, I think I need to back up for a second. Not EVERYONE who is trying to bring a large animal into your complex is going to be asking for an emotional support animal. That's just ONE OF the ways they can make the request. So, if someone comes to you with a claimed physical disability, they can produce a note from their doctor. If they're asking for an animal for an EMOTIONAL disability, then they'd need a note from their psychiatrist. At some point during the conversation, all disabilities somehow got lumped together under emotional support, but that's not what I intended. It's entirely possible for someone with a real disability to ask for a service animal that is a large dog based on a medical issue.
As far as direct threats go, you have to be able to establish that a specific animal presents a direct threat. It's not enough to say that all dogs of a given breed constitute a direct threat.