The Real Deal Miami

Man fights condo board to keep his service dog

Judge rules that the Fair Housing Act allows homeowner to have animal regardless of breed

August 01, 2014 03:00PM

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The Del Vista Towers

The Del Vista Towers

For nearly a year, a condominium association has been battling with a homeowner who sued when the association tried to ban his dog.

The plaintiff, Alexander Warren, asked Miami’s Del Vista Towers Condominium Association to overlook its “no-pet” policy to accommodate his dog, a service animal, according to the Daily Business Review.

But the board refused, and Warren filed a suit in Southern District court, claiming failure to reasonably accommodate.

The condo association has argued that Warren’s case is baseless, because his dog is a pit bull — a restricted breed in Miami-Dade.

On Tuesday, a judge denied the condo association’s motion for summary judgment.

“The HUD rulings and notices make clear that an emotional support animal need not be specifically trained, because the symptoms the animal ameliorates are mental and emotional, rather than physical,” Judge Jose Martinez wrote.

“In the present case, if the county ordinance were enforced, it would violate the FHA by permitting a discriminatory housing practice. In failing to grant plaintiff’s request to live with his assistance animal because of the dog’s alleged breed, plaintiff is not afforded an equal opportunity to use and enjoy his dwelling.” [DBR] Christopher Cameron

  • Erika

    This is so sad. Since becoming a real estate agent in Florida, I have had to encounter all kinds of problems with everything from tenants to associations, zoning and more. The breed specific law in this case is very trivial considering his pet is registered as his service animal. In fact, the breed specific legislation is a nightmare. Unfortunately many condo associations, as well as residents and other decision makers still have a very negative view of pit bulls. This is just sad. As a dog owner, it breaks my heart to see how much this man’s life has been inconvenienced just by having a pet.

    On the flip side, there is also a wide range of who is responsible for preventing this like this from happenings. I always screen my prospective tenants and make sure that they are going to have a seamless transition and not run into any pet or other problems that might result in long term problems or in this case, a lawsuit.

    My best wishes to the tenant and his dog!
    Erika

    • Ray

      Tenant? What tenant?

  • James Leider

    If you ever need help in a similar problem please check

    petsincondos.org

  • jaime

    people abuse the law. Now Everybody has a service pet. At the end the lawyer and the owner of the pet make money from the building.

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