In a recent case decided in Florida involving a request for an accommodation in the HOA’s pet policy, the court found that the HOA may have wrongfully “constructively” denied a request for a service animal to assist a member who had multiple sclerosis and was confined to a wheelchair. The HOA never actually denied the request, but rather requested unnecessary verifying information and filed an action for a court determination about the disability. The court stated 12 key points that an HOA should consider in evaluating a request for a reasonable accommodation and further stated that the association, directors and managing agents could be liable — and punitive damages could be awarded.
Federal and state laws protect people with disabilities against discrimination by providers of “public accommodations.” A homeowners association may be subject to the applicable laws if there are portions of the association’s facilities that are open to the public and affect commerce. The laws make it unlawful for any person or community associations to refuse to make reasonable accommodations in rules, policies, or practices when such accommodations may be necessary to afford a person with a disability equal opportunity to use an enjoy a dwelling unit or the common area.Make sure your HOA has proper policies and procedures in place to properly handle a member or resident’s request for a reasonable accommodation before the request is made.
See:Court case decision: Sabal_Palm_Condos._of_Pine_I
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