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

Curious to hear from those of you that are pushing back on emotional assistance animal requests. 2 years 6 months ago #28745

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.
  • Steve Matre
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Curious to hear from those of you that are pushing back on emotional assistance animal requests. 2 years 6 months ago #28770

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.
  • Anne Sadovsky
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Curious to hear from those of you that are pushing back on emotional assistance animal requests. 2 years 5 months ago #28947

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.

Curious to hear from those of you that are pushing back on emotional assistance animal requests. 2 years 5 months ago #28948

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.
  • Anne Sadovsky
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Curious to hear from those of you that are pushing back on emotional assistance animal requests. 2 years 5 months ago #28949

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.
  • Tammy K
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Curious to hear from those of you that are pushing back on emotional assistance animal requests. 2 years 5 months ago #28950

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.
  • Anonymous
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Curious to hear from those of you that are pushing back on emotional assistance animal requests. 2 years 5 months ago #28978

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!
  • Bj Rioux
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Curious to hear from those of you that are pushing back on emotional assistance animal requests. 2 years 5 months ago #28979

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.

Curious to hear from those of you that are pushing back on emotional assistance animal requests. 2 years 5 months ago #29078

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!
  • Melanie
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