Several psychological studies in recent years have focused on emotional support animals. With all the benefits that a trained support animal can offer, it is not surprising that more people are petitioning to allow emotional support animals in previously pet-free condominiums in Miami.
For those who benefit from owning an emotional support animal, there are a few things to keep in mind when considering how best to represent a support animal to a condominium.
Emotional support animals and the Americans with Disabilities Act
The Americans with Disabilities Act does not apply to emotional support animals. As of 2010, the ADA protects service animals in all public accommodations and gives them allowance to go wherever their owner can. This means that all housing facilities must allow service animals to avoid discrimination against the owner.
However, an animal must have specific training to complete a medically necessary task in order to qualify as a service animal. For example, a dog may have training to remind its owner to take medication at a certain time each day. Emotional support animals do not perform tasks but rather provide therapeutic benefits through their presence. While this benefit is real, the ADA does not offer protections for it.
Emotional support animals and the Fair Housing Act
The Fair Housing Act does support the right to own an emotional support animal. Under this code, emotional support animals qualify as assistance animals. Housing providers cannot refuse to make reasonable accommodations to allow residents to keep these animals. This includes allowing an emotional support animal in a pet-free facility or waiving a pet deposit or fee.
However, this code also confirms that the animal must not present a health concern for any other residents and that the owner may be liable for any damage the pet causes to the property. A lawyer with experience in real estate law can help animal owners navigate these requirements.