What are my rights regarding an ESA dog?

UPDATED: Sep 12, 2012

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What are my rights regarding an ESA dog?

I have been dating a girl for a while. I own my co-op and I am the only one on the mortgage/only one that the managing property knows about. My girlfriend started kind of living me and she requires and Emotional Support Animal. I got a letter from my co-op’s lawyer telling me that I have 1 month to remove the dog from the premises or legal action will be taken against me (not to mention I have to pay all legal fees the co-op incures, including them sending me this stupid letter). Anyway, I sent the lawyer back saying it’s my girlfriend’s ESA dog and furter that she doesn’t live with me. Additionally, I sent them a letter in which her doctor says she needs an ESA and for “property managers to make resonable accomodations”. Is there anything I can do here? Isn’t it decrimination to not let my girlfriend live with me or visit me because she requires an ESA? Should I call the managing agents and simply let them now she is moving in (the letter from the lawyer says she is “unknown” to the management company). What should I do?

Asked on September 12, 2012 under Real Estate Law, New York


FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Under federal law if your girlfriend has proper approval to have an emotional support animal (ESA) then the other members of the cooperative need to make special accomodations to the girlfriend for the animal much like a person who has impaired vision is allowed to have a guide dog in a restaurant and other places that would not normally allow a dog on premises.

I suggest that you consult with an attorney that practices in the area of the law concerning ESA for assistance and guidance as to how to respond to the demands of the attorney for the co-op. Letting the letters go unanswered creates more problems for you down the road.

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