The Community Associations Institute, the largest organization representing the interests of communities with associations, recently issued a new public policy titled “Assistance Animals and Pets in Community Associations.” The new policy recommendations, which were adopted by the organization’s Board of Trustees, serve as excellent guiding principles for associations and lawmakers on pet restrictions and assistance animal policies.
The policy recognizes the rights of residential community associations to regulate and adopt rules pertaining to pets and assistance animals, but it notes that such rules must guarantee the rights of individuals with disabilities to receive the assistance they need as mandated by state and federal laws. It will be used by the organization and its legislative action committees around the country to support legislation allowing associations to request documentation that verifies the need to accommodate for an assistance animal, and which imposes penalties for fraudulent requests for service or emotional support animals.
Assistance animals are recognized as deserving of reasonable accommodations for the qualified disabled under the federal Fair Housing Act. Assistance animals are not considered pets, according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, which oversees the Fair Housing Act and investigates claims of housing discrimination. Continue reading