Q: My emotional support animal was approved by my condo board. However, they are making me take her completely off the property for her to take care of "business." It is a long walk and puts us along a busy street. Can they do this? -- Anonymous
A: When your association, or any housing provider, deal with a person with a disability, it is required to make "reasonable accommodations." To figure out what this means, the interests of the disabled person must be balanced with the needs of their neighbors. The question of what is reasonable is among the most common that a lawyer gets asked in dealing with these issues and is almost always answered in a very lawyerly way by saying, "it depends."
Determining what is a reasonable accommodation is situational and varies widely based on the individual circumstance. For example, what is a fair distance to walk is quite different for someone using a cane than for someone who runs marathons.
In your situation, the circumstances will need to be looked at. If you are walking past several grassy areas to get off the property, it may not be reasonable. But that does not mean that the association has to let you walk your support animal in the garden in front of the main entrance to the building. Your physical condition should be taken into account, along with a variety of other factors such as traffic, safety, and even if there is an alternate and close area for rainy days.
You should speak to your association about your concerns and suggest alternatives suitable to your situation that show that you are concerned not only with yourself but with your neighbors. In most cases, this will resolve the problem.
About The Writer
Gary M. Singer is a Florida attorney and board-certified as an expert in real estate law by the Florida Bar. He practices real estate, business litigation and contract law from his office in Sunrise, Fla. He is the chairman of the Real Estate Section of the Broward County Bar Association and is a co-host of the weekly radio show Legal News and Review. He frequently consults on general real estate matters and trends in Florida with various companies across the nation. Send him questions online at www.sunsentinel.com/askpro or follow him on Twitter @GarySingerLaw.
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