93°F
weather icon Clear

Federal law allows for service animals in HOA

Q: I am being constantly harassed with doctored-up photos taken of my door. I have one active service dog — a white German shepherd named Snow. I have a retired service dog who is 13½ years old. She has hip problem. And I have a 5-year-old military retired police dog.

OK, so I’m gonna tell you this: No matter what dog, what breed, all dogs will bite if put in a position. I have a sign taped to my door that reads, “Beware of dog.” It kept coming off. I don’t know if they took it off or what.

They have been on my property taking pictures. I now have bells on my doors. Every time the dogs bark I come down and check to see if there’s anybody in my driveway or at my front door. It’s tearing up my stomach — my mental health. They will not respond to any of our registered letters. They send us registered letters. I have copies of those. They will not answer any more phone calls. I need your help on this. I’m getting really, really sick, along with the anxiety and depression. And this is a lot for my husband, who is retired military and works for the government.

A: The Fair Housing Act amendments of 1988 extended the protections of Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968. Associations must allow service dogs and emotional support animals if necessary for a person with a disability. To fall under this provision, you must have a disability and you must have a disability-related need for the animal. Service animals are not pets. The law requires the association to make reasonable accommodations to their rules and regulations to allow a resident to have a service dog. There are no exclusions based on the breed or animal weight. The association can require a verification letter from the resident’s physician confirming the disability.

You have a couple of issues: the “Beware of dog” warning sign placed on your front door and the fact that there are three dogs within the residence. The federal law does not specifically address retired service dogs. Military dogs do not fall under the fair housing laws. To avoid further conflicts with your association, you should obtain the verification letter for the active service dog and for the retired service dog that can be presented to the board. As to your warning sign, you should contact their community manager to find out what kind of sign would be acceptable and where it can be located. Depending upon the governing documents, the association may not be able to provide a variance for the third dog, assuming that the rules state only two pets are allowed within the community.

You do have the right to contact the local HUD office at 702-366-2100 to discuss your issues in more detail.

Q: I live in a gated community. We have two pools. At one time, one was designated adult-only and the other a family pool. One of our residents complained about the adult-only pool, and it was changed to a “quiet” pool to allow children. Is there such a law that prohibits communities from having an adult-only pool?

A: In 1988, the Federal Fair Housing Act was amended to prohibit discrimination based on familial status and disability. In most cases, restricting children from the pool will be deemed as a violation of the federal fair housing laws that ban discrimination on the basis of age or familial status. Variations that have the same effect, such as setting aside specific times for family swim or lap swimming only, would similarly be suspect and subject to challenge.

Can your association obtain an exemption? Possibly, but there are strict requirements. The community must be an age-qualified association with at least 80 percent of the units occupied by adults 55 and older. The association’s policies are published to confirm that it qualifies for exemption. Be very careful and speak with an attorney that specializes in fair housing as such a rule could even be challenged.

Barbara Holland is a certified property manager, broker and supervisory certified association manager. Questions may be sent to holland744o@gmail.com.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
THE LATEST
New Nevada laws that will affect HOAs

There were not too many laws passed in this last legislative session that affected our local homeowners associations. Here are some that did.

BHHS partners with Adwerx to offer Realtors new program

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Nevada Properties, in partnership with Adwerx Enterprises, has launched a new platform, called Brilliantly Simple to immediately advertise its real estate listings online. The platform automatically creates digital advertising programs for each home, including custom ads that are optimized for social media, apps and websites.

Homeowners have right to see HOA financial records

Per Nevada Revised Statute 116.31175 (1a), upon written request, you are entitled to receive financial statements from your association. Please send a formal specific request of what financial statements that you would like to receive.

High land costs affect developments

For all the job growth and expansion in the Las Vegas economy, a lack of land and its high cost is restricting growth in the valley, experts told the Southern Nevada real estate and development community.

Local home prices stuck at $300,000

For the third straight month, the Greater Las Vegas Association of Realtors, GLVAR, reported that local home prices are hovering at $300,000, while the number of homes on the market continues to increase.

Fair Housing Law requires accommodations for disabled

The Fair Housing Law requires accommodations for the disabled. Based upon your email, the homeowner would have a strong claim against the association if the homeowner was forced to remove the motor home, or if the association were to fine the homeowner because of the therapy equipment. Take the time to meet with this homeowner and see if there are any other viable alternatives.

HOA must deal with bully board member

The only way to keep bully board members in check is for the entire board to deal with the issue in executive session. Depending upon the gravity of the situation, legal counsel should be informed and invited to attend the executive session.

Condo owner complains of being harassed by renter

You have to contact the police department at the time of the incidents. When meeting with the police officer let the officer know that you want to file a formal complaint and that you would like some report from him or her. Filing a complaint will most likely require you to go to one of the police stations. Find out which one from the police officer.

Yes, HOA’s can be sued that’s why they carry insurance

Yes, associations can be sued, which is why associations carry multiple kinds of insurance. In your case, the lawsuit should be forwarded to the insurance company who provides the directors and officers insurance policy.