Guarantee Housing for You & Your Emotional Support Animal [ESA] or Service Animal- 8 Proven Steps for Every Disabled Home Seeker & Resident Requiring Reasonable Accommodations in Housing
Tutorial Blog Series Blog Series Introduction
Though Fair Housing Advocates, Inc. [FHA] is operating in many different states across our Country, we find that the discrimination against disabled persons who require an Emotional Support Animal or Service Animal is not very different at all- especially for those military veterans, and disabled persons, who suffer from a mental illness like PTSD [Post Traumatic Stress Disorder], TBI [Traumatic Brain Injury], MST [Military Sexual Trauma], or some other emotional condition which is not “readily apparent” to a landlord, leasing agent, or property manager who seems to not want a dog on their property.
Many disabled persons are being denied their right to live with their Emotional Support Animal or Service Animal for a variety of reasons- like the weight, breed, or size of their dog. Many are illegally being charged a pet fee, pet rent, or a pet deposit or forced to purchase additional renter’s insurance- all against the Fair Housing Act. And let’s not forget the housing providers which have illegal requirements to satisfy their accommodations process- they need a letter from a “doctor only,” need to talk with the disabled applicant’s physician, require a “service dog certificate,” or “service dog registration,” all in violation of the FHAct.
Those who are residents are finding that their housing provider is restricting where they can have their assistance animal; they are prohibited from taking their dog to the pool area, the club house, the fitness center, and to any social events on the property- all in violation of the Fair Housing Act.
So HOW can a disabled person with an Assistance Animal prepare for all these hurdles?
FHA is using all the data gathered during hundreds of HUD, consumer, attorney, and landlord interviews to our disabled reading audience with a Tutorial Blog Series [8 Blogs in all] which will them help mitigate the chances of being subjected to housing discrimination whether they are already a resident of a community, or looking for a place to live with their Assistance Animal. Lessons learned can be applied to all housing providers: landlords, property management companies, apartment complexes, Home Owners Associations [HOA], Condo Associations, Mobile Home Parks, Universities & Colleges, and even Cities which are strictly applying a breed restriction against Pit Bull assistance animals, for example.
The 8 Blog Articles listed below will be released in sequential order- the first will be posted this week.
Know Your Animal: Is it an Emotional Support Animal or a Service Animal? Does it Matter?
a. Though HUD does not care which you have, why is it important to identify Which you have?
b. Why it might be important for others to witness the animal-patient interaction
Why You Should Avoid Small Landlords & Other Housing Providers
a. Which housing providers are Exempt from the FHAct?
b. Permanent Dwelling vs. Temporary Housing
c. Universities & Colleges are not exempt! You have housing rights there!
Prepare the Proper “Verification Letter” or “Certification” or “Doctor’s Letter” or Whatever It’s Called!?
a. Why physicians & other medical professionals don’t know how to write HUD approved verification letters
b. What three HUD required elements you need in every ESA letter
c. Why a letter approved by a landlord is not always “good enough”
d. Fair Housing Advocates’ List of Recommended Mental Health Professionals trained by FHA- don’t miss this one!
Submit Your Own Completed Questionnaire to the Leasing Agent
a. What facts should you reveal about your disability and need for your Assistance Animal
b. Why you should reveal your animal’s breed, size, and training [if applicable]
c. Where you expect the animal to go with you
d. Other limitations and expectations
Make a Proper Accommodation Request and Do It in Writing!
a. Accommodations- Ask and ye shall receive
b. Proper language of a request- What does HUD suggest?
c. Documentation vs. Conversation: Why emails and texts will save you!
d. Reasonable time for a review
e. FHA’s list of prepared Reasonable Accommodation Request letters
Avoid Using Additional Online “Certifications” and Other Dubious Sources
a. Do: Get referrals from other sources
b. Do Not: Buy products from other online stores [examples will be provided]
Denied An Accommodation at First: Continue the Interactive Dialogue Process
a. What’s missing or insufficient?
b. Keeping the ball in the landlord’s court
Denied Housing Rights? Fair Housing Advocates, Inc. Protects You at No Cost!
a. How to Protect your fair housing rights for you and your Assistance Animal
b. What FHA provides you at no cost
c. Writing, Evidencing, and Filing a Fair Housing Complaint
d. Negotiating a settlement for you!
FHA is confident this Tutorial Blog Series will help prepare you to avoid unnecessary housing discrimination for you, your family, and your needed Assistance Animal.
Keep in mind that Fair Housing Advocates, Inc. is a registered 501(c)(3) organization and provides no cost support to any person who needs help defending their housing civil rights.
If you need help with the Reasonable Accommodations process, or need help to establish or protect your fair housing rights through the filing of a fair housing complaint, FHA will assist you for free. FHA also has a small select network of mental health professionals, approved by FHA, to provide fair housing compliant ESA letters, Assessments, and verification of your disability and disability-related need for your assistance animal.
If you have any questions about your housing rights, or need no-cost advice, please reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us directly at 877.838.9963.