I have used this space (and elsewhere) to discuss various issues involving service and emotional support animals for apartment community residents. Included in that, of course, is that management must make a reasonable accommodation in the event that a disabled resident requires an assistance animal – even if the property prohibits pets. Assistance animals are not pets and we do not charge a pet deposit or pet fees for service or emotional support animals. All good.
But, what about a situation where a resident is not disabled, but if a guest of a resident (someone not on the lease) wants to bring an assistance animal to your property? What are the rules? What can management seek from the guest?
Well, under our federal Fair Housing Act (FHA), management would be required to permit the guest of a resident to bring an assistance animal to your community (even if it is a “no pets” property). The FHA extends not only to residents, but also to individuals “associated” with the resident. As such, a guest of a resident is covered under the law as residents are entitled to the full enjoyment of their housing – which includes having guests visit.
Now, with respect to medical verifications, the rules are the same for residents or guests. If a guest’s disability is obvious (for example if the guest is blind and has a guide dog) we should not seek any type of supplemental medical verification. However, if the disability is not obvious (as is the case for many emotional support animals), management may seek competent medical information to demonstrate that the guest is indeed disabled and that there is a link between the animal and the disability.
Just A Thought.