“Ask Your Attorney” Column

Whether My Mother Will Be Evicted Because Of Her Dog?

Dear Counselor: My elderly mother recently lost her hearing and would benefit greatly if she could have a trained dog to let her know when someone is at the door, and things of that nature. BUT, she lives in a complex that has a “no pet rule”. She doesn’t want to be evicted, but needs help. Is there anything we can do?

Dear Client: This is actually a pretty common question. Frequently, having a trained “service” animal can mean a world of difference in the quality of life to their owner. If there is a “no pet rule” where your mother lives, just because it sounds final, doesn’t mean that it is. The Federal Fair Housing Act requires “reasonable accommodation” and this applies to trained service animals which assist their masters with their disability. You can help your mother by contacting the board or management company at your mother’s complex, and providing them with information concerning your mother’s disability, together with a letter from her doctor explaining her need to have the trained dog with her. They will then be able to allow her to have the dog as a qualified accommodation under the Act. Best of luck to you, and let me know if you need any further help.

John L. Maier, Jr.