apartment complex not allowing an emotional support dog

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apartment complex not allowing an emotional support dog

Can my apartment complex require me to get rid of my PitBull mix dog they are
listed as restricted dogs for the complex after my doctor wrote a letter stating he
is an emotional support animal. This is my brothers dog who passed away
suddenly and when I asked the apartments about getting a dog they did not ask
the type until I took the photo of the dog down to pay for the pet deposit and
monthly rent increase and was told i could not keep him. I did research on the fair
housing act and it states they can only deny it if they can provide documentation
of a undue financial burden for me to keep the dog. I have offered to get liability
insurance myself for the dog in addition to our existing renters insurance. I do not
know what my legal standings are in this case.

Asked on November 5, 2016 under Real Estate Law, Ohio

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

If you have a medically documented need for an emotional support animal (ESA), they have to allow you to have it, even if they ordinarily don't allow animals at all, or normally don't allow this breed or type of dog. If they don't, they are violating the federal Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and possibly state law, too. The issue is, it must be *your* ESA and you must have a documentable need for it--even if it is an ESA, if it's the ESA of someone else (like your deceased brother), they don't have to allow it: they only have to accommodate the ESA if is for a tenant or other current authorized occupant of the rental unit. 
If it's not your ESA, they can make you remove it or else evict you. If it is your ESA and the complex won't voluntarily let you have it, contact HUD to file a housing discrimination complaint under the ADA.


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