Service Animals and ESAs
We follow the Fair Housing Act (FHAct) guidelines regarding reasonable housing accommodation requests for assistance animals. The FHAct provides that reliable and credible documentation that meet the test of reasonableness may be requested and reviewed. Third-party verifier documentation such as, but not limited to, a letter from a medical doctor, social worker, or mental health professional are acceptable example sources of documentation. It’s noteworthy that there is no exhaustive list of third-party verifiers or respective documentation, but the documentation must affirm the animal owner has a disability and a disability-related need for the animal.
Unlike the ADA that limits service animals to a dog or miniature horse, the FHAct provides no exhaustive list of types of assistance animals although the test of reasonableness can be applied. In case you were wondering, it would be reasonable to assert that an alligator is a dangerous animal and to deny the reasonable accommodation request. Assistance animals do not need to be trained to perform a task because they could, for example, provide necessary emotional support for a person with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Any person with a non-obvious or invisible disability who is seeking to live with his or her assistance animal is required to submit a reasonable accommodation request. The important issue to note about an assistance animal is that you are only allowed to ask two questions:
Do you, or the person in your household seeking to use and live with the animal, have a disability?
Do you, or the person in your household seeking to use and live with the animal, have a disability-related need for an assistance animal?