HOA to Pay $50K to Settle Dispute over Emotional Support Animal

A Colorado homeowners association recently agreed to pay $50,000 to resolve allegations of disability discrimination involving a resident’s request for an assistance animal, according to the Justice Department.

The complaint alleged that the community had a policy prohibiting all pets with the exception of one cat per unit. The policy was later amended to create procedures for reasonable accommodation requests by individuals with disabilities for “service animals.” The complaint alleged that the resident submitted numerous forms of documentation from mental health and medical professionals to support her need for an emotional support animal. Nevertheless, the complaint claimed that for more than six months, the HOA refused to allow her to keep her emotional support animal in her unit. The resident filed a fair housing complaint with HUD, which conducted an investigation, issued a charge of discrimination, and referred the case to the Justice Department.

Under the settlement, the HOA agreed to pay the resident $50,000 in damages, send to all condo owners at the property a written apology to the resident involved, adopt a new reasonable accommodation policy, and attend fair housing training.