Emotional Support Animals

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“Prescriptive pets” are a growing concern plaguing condominium associations.  Boards are often forced to decide whether or not to pursue arbitration in order to require removal of the pet in light of threatened discrimination claims by the unit owner.  In Karanda Village VII Condominium Association, Inc. v. Gothelf, Arb. Case No. 2009-01-1903 (August 13, 2009), the Division made clear that it will not arbitrate a case where the Association is seeking removal of a pet that the owner claims is necessary as a reasonable accommodation under the Fair Housing Act until the discrimination claim is filed and resolved.  However, in the absence of enforcement action by the Association to compel the pet’s removal, there may be no incentive for the unit owner to file a discrimination claim with the federal, state or local government agencies responsible for investigating those claims.  This makes decisions even more difficult for Boards as any action to compel removal of the pet will no doubt ensure a discrimination investigation.

 

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