Many Condo and Homeowner Associations in the Tampa Bay area and throughout Florida have pet restrictions within their associations’ governing documents.
Some community associations restrict all pets, while others limit by size or certain dog breeds.
Just because a community limits pets, this may not exclude certain animals from residing in their building or community.
Pet restrictions can be enforced as long as the animal is not used for any medical conditions.
Questions can arise with boards when faced with a resident that acquires or moves in with an animal into a “no pet” community.
Depending on how the HOA or Condo Board proceeds, the situation could have significant legal ramifications under FHA/HUD for potential discrimination.
When faced with an owner that has an emotional support dog, or service animal, the association needs to be aware of the law and rules governing Federal and State Housing Regulations.
FHA requires exemptions to these rules in certain medical situations.
The two federally covered classes of animals are service animals and emotional support animals.
It is vital that your board understands the definitions and requirements for both situations.
Service animals are those animals that have received training to provide a specific service or benefit to someone with a disability.
These types of animals must be allowed under the Americans with Disability Act to accompany people with disabilities in public places and live in their residence.
Emotion support dogs provide comfort for a psychological need.
They do not qualify as service animals under the Americans with Disability Act but are covered under the FHA. They can be restricted from public places that don’t allow pets but are allowed to live in no-pet housing as a reasonable accommodation.
An HOA or Condo Association can request medical documentation for an emotional support animal.
Animal owners in Florida have successfully sued boards and respective members over service and support animals.
Consulting with your Community Association Attorney before making a determination about an animal in a no pet community could save the boards thousands of dollars in legal fees and damages.
FL Legal Group’s HOA and Condo Association Attorneys are experienced in handling pet and service animal related issues.
Please feel free to schedule a consultation (800) 984-9951, or send an email to Inquiry@FLLegalGroup.com
You can also visit our website: www.FLLegalGroup.com for more information regarding our other areas of practice.