Topic: Curious to hear from those of you that are pushing back on emotional assistance animal requests.

Shelley Russell's Avatar Topic Author
Shelley Russell
Curious to hear from those of you that are pushing back on emotional assistance animal requests. What are you doing and how's it been going? So tired of the bogus requests.
Posted 3 years 3 weeks ago
Rikita Mohamed's Avatar Topic Author
Rikita Mohamed
Can’t wait to see the feedback. This is a huge issue for me as well.
Posted 3 years 3 weeks ago
Brittaney Savannah Corder's Avatar Topic Author
Brittaney Savannah Corder
Rikita Mohamed Same and was bit by one in Feb
Posted 3 years 3 weeks ago
Tamara Sanchez's Avatar Topic Author
Tamara Sanchez
Based on trainings I have taken, if a support animal is too aggressive or causing too many problems in your property you can allow for the reasonable accommodations but request there’s a different animal. Similar to what would happen with a live in aide that was breaking the rules, you could ask someone they have a different live in aide. I highly suggest everyone speaks with an attorney or their property attorney regarding these types of issues as often times you need to treat them on a case by case basis and it is best to obtain legal advise.
Posted 3 years 3 weeks ago
Casey Lynn's Avatar Topic Author
Casey Lynn
Legally, I do not believe you can if they have a note from a physician or medical professional saying it is needed. BUT you can still hold that pet and the owner accountable. They have to still follow all pet rules and regulations like anyone else, but I do not believe you can refuse.
Posted 3 years 3 weeks ago
Mariyah Waits's Avatar Topic Author
Mariyah Waits
Casey Lynn you can. You can call and verify w the treating physician and then make a
Best call from there
Posted 3 years 3 weeks ago
Chelsea Alise Spivey's Avatar Topic Author
Chelsea Alise Spivey
We don't accept the bogus online certificates
Posted 3 years 3 weeks ago
Amy Sexton Horsley's Avatar Topic Author
Amy Sexton Horsley
As a Regional I call and verify every doctors note for legitimacy. Many times the doctors arent aware of other ESAs in the house, or their implication of falsehood (it's a class B misdemeanor in Utah for fake ESAs). It doesnt always work but it helps.
Posted 3 years 3 weeks ago
Blaine Holderbaum's Avatar Topic Author
Blaine Holderbaum
Indiana has an amazing code that the ESA has to “prescribed” by a doctor who is giving you consistent treatment for your support need. This way we don’t have the phony letters you can pay for
Posted 3 years 3 weeks ago
Katy Boone's Avatar Topic Author
Katy Boone
In NC, we wrote a bill for ESA's this year and modeled it mostly after the Indiana bill. It passed in the House and it is headed to the Senate now.
Posted 3 years 3 weeks ago
Mike Irwin's Avatar Topic Author
Mike Irwin
Petscreening.com
Posted 3 years 3 weeks ago
Mariyah Waits's Avatar Topic Author
Mariyah Waits
I have turned down at least 10 this year; i have also approved 4. No one has pushed back on the declined ones , because they know they’re bullshitting. If you know its fraudulent, turn it doen.
Posted 3 years 3 weeks ago
Mariyah Waits's Avatar Topic Author
Mariyah Waits
they send in a request or dr note. We call physician to verify and answer questions that VAMA - Central Virginia Apartment Association provides. We then kick it up to regional to decide yes or no
Posted 3 years 3 weeks ago
Mariyah Waits's Avatar Topic Author
Mariyah Waits
You can always deny a request for a reasonable accommodation
Posted 3 years 3 weeks ago
Katy Boone's Avatar Topic Author
Katy Boone
My company verifies the need with a licensed medical professional in the state they reside. Online certificates that paid for are not accepted. We have a signed release form that we send to the medical professional to complete for us. An approval committee at our corporate office approves/denies these requests as they do not know the resident personally.
Posted 3 years 3 weeks ago
Felicia Cweren Lewin's Avatar Topic Author
Felicia Cweren Lewin
It’s out of control
Posted 3 years 3 weeks ago
Taylor Marie Sorensen's Avatar Topic Author
Taylor Marie Sorensen
I had a resident tell me that she registered her pit bull because she knew they weren’t allowed she then wanted a high five for “beating the system”
Posted 3 years 3 weeks ago
Paul Murany's Avatar Topic Author
Paul Murany
If you were more reasonable with your pet qualifications and deposits and fees and pet rent, people would be trying so hard to get around them
Posted 3 years 3 weeks ago
Shelley Russell's Avatar Topic Author
Shelley Russell
Paul Murany given the expense I incur on property maintenance, unit turns, etc. My pet charges cover my expense but don't make me a profit. I expect the same is true for others out there
Posted 3 years 3 weeks ago
DeAnna Jarvis's Avatar Topic Author
DeAnna Jarvis
Use PetScreening.com it’s zero cost to the property and takes you out of the equation. It’s a win win.
Posted 3 years 3 weeks ago
Jonathan Weatherford's Avatar Topic Author
Jonathan Weatherford
The way our company gets around the ESA thing is that they aren’t classified as true service animals and we charge deposits and fees because a “financial reason” does not count as a reasonable accommodation. Most of the people who have true ESA’s have never once complained about the fees and deposits. The ones who have bogus ESA’s always raise a stink about it.
Posted 3 years 3 weeks ago
Shelley Russell's Avatar Topic Author
Shelley Russell
Jonathan Weatherford yikes that is illegal. Although ESA'S are not recognized under the ADA, they are recognized by the Fair Housing Act and therefore treated the same.
Posted 3 years 3 weeks ago
Jonathan Weatherford's Avatar Topic Author
Jonathan Weatherford
Shelley Russell well. I can only do what my company tells me to do. I have tried to inform them but they state that a financial burden does not count as a reasonable accommodation. Also, if regular residents have to pay pet fees/deposits then so do ESA.
Posted 3 years 3 weeks ago
Janice Marcum Quill's Avatar Topic Author
Janice Marcum Quill
prospect or resident fills out a reasonable request for accommodation authorizing the doctor to release info to us. we mail it to the doctor ourselves and the dr. mails us the original verifying esa eligibility.
Posted 3 years 3 weeks ago
Heidi Voss's Avatar Topic Author
Heidi Voss
We use the packet available on the NAA website. They need to fill out our forms which means having a care provider fill out our form.
Posted 3 years 3 weeks ago
Shanna McFaddin's Avatar Topic Author
Shanna McFaddin
We are currently in an investigation by the California Dept of Fair Employment and Housing due to a tenant filing a discrimination complaint, for not permitting her to have multiple, unspecified dogs. She produced a doctor's note stating that she needs multiple dogs, despite her not owning any of them for her emotional well-being. Really, she is trying to run a pet sitting business in our community.
We never push back on legit ESAs. However, we do require the tenant to specify the animal(s) and produce the county license and proof of vaccinations. This tenant refused to do so, therefore we denied her request, and she sued us.
Posted 3 years 3 weeks ago
Kathi Blatz's Avatar Topic Author
Kathi Blatz
It's madness isn't it? In Wisconsin they absolutely need a MD/Mental Health professional written prescription for an ESA. No online forms will ever be accepted. Our challenge is restricted breeds, like pitbulls, yes, I have a tenant with an pitty ESA (for the record, great dog I've met it on several occasions). We are working with our insurance and attorney to see if we can legally restrict certain breeds like we would for any other person as is our pet agreement (of course esa's are not pets). I have had two different tenants go out and get restricted breeds for an ESA. I would never put ourselves in danger to get sued but you can bet your a$$ i am making sure I have every piece of documentation and a signed ESA addendum with the rules each time. It's sad that people abuse the system that way. But I'm very, very thorough.
Posted 3 years 3 weeks ago
Vicki Sharp's Avatar Topic Author
Vicki Sharp
Thank you Heidi Voss! If you are a member of the National Apartment Association, ABSOLUTELY use the NAA Emotional Animal Toolkit. The forms are awesome, and the scripts for you to use really work. Plus, the toolkit gives you a lot of insight as to dealing with these situations. I have seen many replies here that simply are not correct. It is definitely worth your time to become well informed on this subject, as you can be held personally responsibility for non-compliance of the Federal Fair Housing laws. That means YOU WRITE A CHECK. Please make sure you comply.
Posted 3 years 3 weeks ago
Heidi Holden's Avatar Topic Author
Heidi Holden
We implemented a policy, we have the request form and then I send a long verification to the doc. Already had one doc deny an ESA request.
Posted 3 years 3 weeks ago
Susan Scharpenter's Avatar Topic Author
Susan Scharpenter
We ask for documentation on emotional support animals/then send them to our compliance person at our Corp office. Usually, we I explain this process, if the paperwork is bogus-we never hear back from the prospect (and it is amazing that most of those pets are on the restricted breed list)
Posted 3 years 3 weeks ago
Steve Matre's Avatar Topic Author
Steve Matre
You have every right to push back; simply put a fair and legal policy in place that clearly lays out the responsibility for the prospect/resident to properly verify the connection between the animal and the need. Consistency is key; if they comply, you move forward.
Posted 3 years 3 weeks ago
Anne Sadovsky's Avatar Topic Author
Anne Sadovsky
Tread lightly, my friends. There is lots of conversation about HUD working on this subject, in the meantime, yes you can request confirmation of need of the animal, especially when the disability is not visible.
No, you don't have to accept phony 'certificates' bought on the internet. I suggest that you thank them for bringing the certificate in, tell them you will be happy to keep a copy of it, then explain that your company policy requires a document be filled out by a medical professional who has knowledge of a disability.
Please take care that you aren't punishing a person with a true need for an ESA.
We should be getting some clarity form HUD soon.
Please remember when it is a service animal, you cannot decline due to the breed. The same thing will likely apply to an ESA. Yes, some ESAs are parrots, cats, and other non-canine animals.
And yes, the animal must be on a leash unless the disability requires the animal to be free in order to protect/aid the person. Yes, it is their responsibility to scoop the poop. If they are not physically able they should have someone else do it. Yes, the animal can go where food is served if the person cannot go there without the animal. Yes, it can go in the pool enclosure, but not in the pool.
Be smart, spak to your local attorney and don't get the property sued. its very expensive to make this mistake.
Posted 3 years 3 weeks ago
hilltop1@gulftel.com's Avatar Topic Author
Be careful you don't have a right to push back however you do have the right to require the proper paperwork if an animal is requested. You can not limit the type of animal, or the size. If all paperwork is turned in and everything that is required meets the requirements. I agree you do not have to take a certificate from the internet but remember an emotional support animal does not have to be trained and it does not have to be certified. I have papers that I send to the doctor and they have to complete them before the person is allowed to have the emotional support animal. Also remember you can not ask why they need the animal just If they need the animal.
Posted 3 years 2 weeks ago
Anne Sadovsky's Avatar Topic Author
Anne Sadovsky
Regarding ESAs. First, HUD allows us to require a document from a physician/health care provider. I have a document that I am happy to share. Email me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Please DO NOT refer to any assist animal as a pet. The ESA issue began when people figured out that saying the animal is an ESA prevented them from paying pet deposits, pet rent.
Many states have passed laws and big fines for this dishonest behavior. Know your state laws! Gees, Google it!
What is unfair is what this does to legitimate ESAs and the residents who actually are assisted by the animal.
Posted 3 years 2 weeks ago
Tammy K's Avatar Topic Author
Tammy K
I just completed a 12-hour HUD Fair Housing training where this topic was covered. You can refuse an assistance animal if the animal poses a direct threat to the health and safety of others that cannot be reduced or eliminated by a reasonable accommodation. You cannot impose weight, size, or breed restrictions, however, if an assistance animal poses a direct threat and the owner does not take action to eliminate or reduce the risk, you can require the animal leave.
Posted 3 years 2 weeks ago
Anonymous's Avatar Topic Author
Anonymous
I manage a HUD affordable housing complex and HUD requires that we accept assistive animals as a reasonable accommodation. HOWEVER, we have special paperwork that their medical person must complete that states that this person meets the federal guidelines and meets the definition of "disabled". Since this animal is now listed as a "medical requirement for their disability" there are restrictions. Just like for a person who uses insulin, you don't let the insulin at home when you go on vacation or go spend the night at your boyfriend's house! You cannot let the animal at home when you go away (other then for work or school), they can tie to animal out on a lead and go back in the house (you do that with pet dogs not medical equipment) other residents are not permitted to babysit your animal, and if your animal breaks the rules (excessive continued barking, aggressive, unruly) and you receive multiple written warnings about the dog, then as a last straw you will have the choice of either getting a different animal, getting rid of the animal or we evict you. The resident is responsible for all that happens in their home so whether it is a guest breaking the rules or an animal, the resident pays the price, and that price eventually is eviction. Because the animal is medically necessary (per their Dr) we cannot make them get rid of an animal....but we can evict them.....but we always give them the opportunity to voluntarily get rid of THAT animal first before eviction.
Posted 3 years 2 weeks ago
Bj Rioux's Avatar Topic Author
Bj Rioux
95% of the verifications we now receive are being obtained online! The most recent was signed by a licensed "Life Coach & Yoga Instructor"! When I pushed back to the tenant asking for someone who was currently treating him, he became very angry and upset. According to our attorney, because of the language in the law, it would be hard to defend should we deny based upon lack of verification of disability and need. Either the federal law language needs to be changed or each state needs to adopt changes as Utah, Colorado, and many others have. The good intent of the law has become abused by these predators and the applicants/tenants are assuming they are legitimate and doing the right thing!
Posted 3 years 2 weeks ago
Chris Peterson's Avatar
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Over the past few years our policies have changed a bit. The property I manage is No Pets, but we have other properties that allow pets. We adjusted our pet policy for my property as all animals do have to follow basic policies. I have started using PetScreening.com to remove myself from the mix on approvals of animals. This site requires the tenant to upload documents dated with in 12 months to support the service/support animal criteria, and also vet records and a photo of the animal. So far they have only processed 3 animals completely, but they seem to do a great job of verifying the need for the animal. (They are also free to landlords and free to those with service/support animals, the tenants pay$25 to register pets.) I love the fact that I no longer have to request a stack of documents and sort through them, it also protects us and keeps the clients medical/mental issues out of my site.
Posted 3 years 2 weeks ago
Melanie's Avatar
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We use PetScreening.com to verify all of our assistance animals. It's FREE to the property and to the resident and they do all of the legal work. It's been amazing!
Posted 3 years 1 week ago