RealManage Insight

How Do HOA Management Companies Enforce Pet Restrictions?

by Staff Writer on Apr 23, 2014, 7:03:00 PM

If your HOA community has pet restrictions, working with an HOA management provider will help to ensure that the policies are fair to all residents while adhering to legislation concerning pet restrictions. If your community’s pet policies are not compliant with the pieces of legislation below, an HOA management provider will help it amend the policies and avoid legal challenges.

The Fair Housing Act

The Fair Housing Act requires communities to allow residents the equal opportunity to enjoy their home. This means residents are entitled to keep a service animal or an emotional support animal when they have a physical or mental handicap, respectively. Residents can legally compel their community to let them keep such an animal when they demonstrate the following condition:

  • They are handicapped according to the Fair Housing Act
  • They need the animal in order to enjoy their home
  • Keeping the animal is a reasonable accommodation

When a community refuses to let a resident keep an animal after these conditions are established, the person often files a discrimination suit with the help of an attorney. It is important to remember that the animal in questions doesn’t need to be a trained service animal; it can also be one that is needed for emotional support, as determined by a doctor or mental health worker.

Americans with Disabilities Act

As HOA management companies know, residents can also compel the community to let them keep an animal under the Americans with Disabilities Act. In terms of permitting pet ownership, the biggest difference between the Fair Housing Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act is the latter requires an animal to be “trained” for pet restriction policies not to apply. Consequently, animals that are needed for emotional support are often claimed under the Fair Housing Act.

Implement the Right Policies

Letting residents keep pets based on the Fair Housing Act and Americans with Disabilities Act serves two purposes: it accommodates residents who need an animal to help with a physical or mental handicap, and it prevents communities from being exposed to discrimination suits. If your community needs to amend its pet policies to bring them current with the Fair Housing Act and Americans with Disabilities Act, HOA management companies will provide assistance.

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