PropertyProf Blog

Editor: Stephen Clowney
Univ. of Arkansas, Fayetteville

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Monday, September 30, 2013

Getting Dogs Into a No-Pet Apartment

The N.Y. Times looks that the increasing number of renters who claim to have a disability in order to skirt no-pet rules in apartment buildings:

Most people know that federal, state and city laws require building owners and landlords to accommodate tenants who have disabilities — for instance, by waiving a no-pet rule for a blind resident’s guide dog. But word apparently is spreading about how broadly these laws define a disability, allowing people with a wide range of physical and mental conditions to seek waivers for their dogs.

Serious depression, chronic pain, AIDS, autism, dementia, cancer and heart disease are just some of the illnesses lawyers say can qualify as disabilities. And as New Yorkers trade advice about this topic in dog parks, elevators and online pet forums, the number of people applying for waivers is increasing “enormously,” said Darryl Vernon, a partner in the law firm Vernon & Ginsburg.

The relevant statutes are the federal Fair Housing Act (which defines a disability as a mental or physical condition that “substantially limits” a major life activity), the New York State Human Rights Law and the New York City Human Rights Law. The city law is generally considered the broadest of the three, covering “physical, medical, mental or psychological” impairments — which opens the door to a wide range of requests.

Steve Clowney

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