The Real Deal New York

Another co-op sued for barring “working” dogs

January 21, 2014 01:00PM

  • Print
From left: 475 FDR Drive

From left: Cove Club in Battery City Park, East River Housing Corporation at 475 FDR Drive

A second lawsuit has been filed against a co-op for barring tenants from keeping emotional support dogs in their apartments.

Three tenants of East River Housing Corporation at 475 FDR Drive claim that banning their emotional support dogs from the apartment building was a violation of the Fair Housing Act and a form of disability discrimination, according to a suit recently filed in federal court.

Despite appealing to the board armed with letters from their doctors attesting to their need for an emotional support dog, East River would not make an exception for the tenants, the New York Observer reported. According to the the Fair Housing Act, the pets must be “working dogs,” or have a function directly related to the owner’s disability, in order to stay.

A decision in favor of the tenants could force landlords and housing boards to rewrite their rules concerning which pets are allowed in buildings.

The condo board for low-rise Cove Club in Battery City Park was also hit with a lawsuit this month for barring a hearing-assistance assistance dog from the apartment of a deaf 76-year-old. Some buildings in New York City have adopted a “dog-friendly” label to appeal to pooch lovers. [NYO]Angela Hunt

  • anon

    The fair housing act does not require animals to be “working dogs”, and it is best to not use that terminology in order to avoid confusion with the Americans with Disabilities Act which has a more restrictive definition of what counts as a service animal – which does require an animal to be trained to perform “work” relevant to someone’s disability. The fair housing act is more expansive and does not require that. Any animal that alleviates symptoms of a disability, including therapy or emotional support animals, is considered an assistance animal for purposes of the fair housing act.

MENU