Can the housing board of my co-op deny me having an emotional support animal? I have a medical letter approving me to have an ESA. Will this allow me to adopt despite living in a co-op building denying dogs?
Discrimination in housing based on a disability is illegal. The Federal Fair Housing Act provides that housing providers may not refuse to make a reasonable accommodation for a person with a disability. That includes people who need a service or emotional support animal. According to recent guidelines published by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), individuals seeking reasonable accommodations for support animals should generally have health care professionals provide information related to the following:
• Whether the individual has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits at least one major life activity or major bodily function, and
• Whether the individual needs the animal because the animal provides assistance that benefits the individual because of his/her disability (and that can include providing therapeutic emotional support to alleviate a symptom or effect of the disability)
For more information, see: https://www.hud.gov/sites/dfiles/PA/documents/HUDAsstAnimalNC1-28-2020.pdf
People who believe they are being discriminated against in housing based on the keeping of an assistance animal should contact a disability/housing attorney. Complaints may also be filed with HUD, https://www.hud.gov/program_offices/fair_housing_equal_opp/online-complaint,
the NYS Division of Human Rights and other local disability and housing rights agencies and organizations.
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