AB 1569 (Caballero). Disability rights: reasonable accommodations: animals.

service-dogs

If a prospective or current tenant requests a disability-related reasonable accommodation to keep an animal on the property and the disability or disability-related need is not readily apparent, this bill would authorize a person renting, leasing, or otherwise providing real property for compensation to request that a third party provide verification of the disability and disability-related need for the animal.

Current Status: Pending

FindHOALaw Quick Summary:

The Unruh Civil Rights Act generally prohibits discrimination on the basis of various personal characteristics, including disability.  Individuals with disabilities are entitled to full and equal access to all housing accommodations offered for rent, lease, or compensation, and prohibits a person renting, leasing, or otherwise providing real property for compensation from refusing to make reasonable accommodations for an individual with a disability.  This bill would amend Civil Code Section 54.1 to authorize a person renting, leasing, or otherwise providing real property for compensation to request that a third party provide verification of the disability and disability-related need need for an animal, if a prospective or current tenant requests a disability-related reasonable accommodation to keep an animal on the property and the disability is not readily apparent or the disability-related need for an animal is not apparent.

The bill would require that the third party be located in the United States and have specific knowledge of the requester’s medical condition based on an individualized examination, which shall include an in-person meeting.  The third party may not operate primarily as a business to provide certifications for persons requesting verification of animals requested as reasonable accommodations.

The bill would specify that certain types of documentation would not be in and of themselves sufficient third-party verification, including an identification card or certificate for a registered service animal, an emotional support animal prescription letter, any certificate, letter of prescription, or doctor’s note obtained from an online source, or documentation that does not indicate that the provider of the documentation ever met with the requester or performed an individualized examination. The person providing real property for compensation would be authorized to request additional third-party verification from a reliable source if the requester only presents any of those types of documentation.

The bill would exclude guide dogs, signal dogs, service dogs, and service animals, as defined in Health and Safety Code Section 113903.

**UPDATE: On March 23, 2017, the proposed text of AB 1569 was amended to allow a person providing real property for compensation to request that a prospective or current tenant provide both reliable verification of the disability and reliable third-party verification of the disability-related need for the animal:

(C) (i) A person renting, leasing, or otherwise providing real property for compensation may, if a prospective or current tenant requests a disability-related reasonable accommodation to keep an animal on the real property and the disability is not readily apparent or the disability-related need for an animal is not apparent, request that a third party provide verification of the disability and disability-related need for the animal from the prospective or current tenant. prospective or current tenant provide both (I) reliable third-party verification or other reliable verification of the disability and (II) reliable third-party verification of the disability-related need for the animal. The third party verifying the disability and the disability-related need for the animal shall be located in the United States and have specific knowledge of the prospective or current tenant’s medical condition based on an individualized examination. That examination shall include an in-person meeting with the prospective or current tenant. The third party shall not be operating primarily as a business to provide certifications for persons requesting verification of animals requested as reasonable accommodations. The third-party verification shall include the third party’s name, address, and telephone number or email address.
(ii) The following types of documentation shall not be in and of themselves sufficient or reliable third-party verification that a prospective or current tenant requires an animal as a reasonable accommodation, and the person renting, leasing, or otherwise providing real property for compensation may request additional third-party verification from a reliable source if the prospective or current tenant only presents any of those types of documentation:
(I) An identification card or certificate for a registered service animal. card, registration, or certificate for an animal presented without additional third-party verification from a reliable source.

(II)An emotional support animal prescription letter.

(II) Any certificate, registration, emotional support animal letter, letter of prescription, doctor’s or any other kind of note or letter obtained from an online source.

To read the current text of AB 1569, click here to the view the bill’s page on the California Legislature’s website. FindHOALaw will continue to track AB 1569 as it progresses through the Legislature. 

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from the California Legislature's website

Related Topics

Related Statutes

Related Links

Responding to Requests for Accommodation - Published on HOA Lawyer Blog (February 7, 2013) HOA Accommodations for Disabled Residents - Published on HOA Lawyer Blog (May 1, 2012)