Suppose an owner or a renter makes a request to keep an emotional support animal. Suppose further that the person’s disability is not readily apparent. What proof can the association ask for to prove the person is disabled?
(b) If a person’s disability is not readily apparent, request reliable information that reasonably supports that the person has a disability. Supporting information may include:
1. A determination of disability from any federal, state, or local government agency.
2. Receipt of disability benefits or services from any federal, state, or local government agency.
3. Proof of eligibility for housing assistance or a housing voucher received because of a disability.
4. Information from a health care practitioner, as defined in s. 456.001; a telehealth provider, as defined in s. 456.47; or any other similarly licensed or certified practitioner or provider in good standing with his or her profession’s regulatory body in another state but only if such out-of-state practitioner has provided in-person care or services to the tenant on at least one occasion. Such information is reliable if the practitioner or provider has personal knowledge of the person’s disability and is acting within the scope of his or her practice to provide the supporting information.
5. Information from any other source that the housing provider reasonably determines to be reliable in accordance with the federal Fair Housing Act and s. 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.
Notice that the above statute does not allow the association to ask for “medical records” only “reliable information.” BE CAREFUL
Suppose a person wants more than one emotional support animal?
If a person requests to keep more than one emotional support animal, the association may request information regarding the specific need for each animal.
What about safety concerns?
The association may require proof of compliance with state and local requirements for licensing and vaccinating each emotional support animal.
Next week we’ll talk about actions that can subject the association and/or its officers, directors and managers to liability.