May 2013 Coach's Quiz
We’ve suggested seven rules on addressing fair housing concerns involving mental disabilities. Now let’s look at how the rules might apply in the real world. Take the COACH’s Quiz to see what you’ve learned.
INSTRUCTIONS: Each of the following questions has only one correct answer. On a separate piece of paper, write down the number of each question, followed by the answer you think is correct—for example, (1)b, (2)a, and so on. The correct answers (with explanations) follow the quiz. Good luck!
You’ve recently learned that a resident has had a dog in her unit for some time. Your community has a policy to allow pets, but it requires pet owners to pay an additional monthly fee, along with a pet deposit to cover any damages caused by the animal. When you ask her about it, she says that she’s disabled and needs the dog as an assistance animal. You should:
a. Tell her that she must remove it since she didn’t tell you that the dog was an assistance animal when she got it.
b. Ask for her medical records to prove she’s disabled.
c. Ask for proof that the dog is a service animal.
d. Follow your standard policies on handling reasonable accommodation requests.
In applying to live in your community, an applicant lists her current and former residence. You recognize the name of one of her former addresses as a group home for individuals with substance abuse and mental health problems. Since there are young children living in the building, you’re worried about liability from exposing them to potential criminal or drug activity if the applicant relapses. Since you have legitimate safety concerns, you may reject her application without violating fair housing law. True or false?
You get a call from a resident’s daughter, who lives out of state. She explains that her mother doesn’t drive and needs someone from the community to go to the pharmacy to pick up medication for an anxiety disorder and deliver it to her unit. You explain that you’d like to do her a favor, but there’s no one available to go to the pharmacy. Since your community doesn’t provide transportation services or shopping services to residents, you may decline the daughter’s request and not violate fair housing law. True or false?
COACH’S ANSWERS & EXPLANATIONS
Correct answer: d
Reason: Rules #3, #4, and #5 apply here:
Rule #3: Be Ready for Reasonable Accommodation Requests
Rule #4: Know When to Ask for More Information
Rule #5: Consider Requests for Assistance Animals
The resident’s statement that she is disabled and has a disability-related reason for the assistance animal is enough to trigger your obligation to treat it as a reasonable accommodation request. Follow your standard policies to determine whether she qualifies as an individual with a disability and whether she needs reasonable accommodations to your pet policies to allow her to keep the dog as an assistance animal.
Wrong Answers Explained:
a. It doesn’t matter that she failed to ask for a reasonable accommodation to your pet policies when she got the dog. The law allows residents with disabilities to request reasonable accommodations at any time during their tenancy.
b. You may request documentation to verify her disability if it’s not obvious or otherwise known to you, but in most cases, you can’t insist on getting her medical records.
c. It doesn’t matter whether the dog has received specialized training. Under the FHA, disabled individuals may request a reasonable accommodation for “assistance animals,” which includes species other than dogs, with or without training, and animals that provide emotional support.
Correct answer: b
Reason: Rule #1 applies here:
Rule #1: Don’t Discriminate Against Individuals with Mental Disabilities
Fair housing law protects individuals with mental disabilities as well as those recovering from drug addiction. Although you may exclude individuals whose tenancy may pose a direct threat to the health and safety of others, it’s unlawful to exclude an applicant based on fear, speculation, or stereotypes about individuals with mental health problems or a history of drug addiction.
Correct answer: a
Reason: Rule #6 applies here:
Rule #6: Assess Need for Requested Accommodation
Fair housing law doesn’t require communities to grant unreasonable accommodation requests. The law considers an accommodation request unreasonable if it imposes an undue financial and administrative burden or fundamentally alters the nature of the community’s operations. Since your community doesn’t offer transportation or shopping services to residents, the request to go to the pharmacy to get the mother’s medication would be outside the essential nature of your operations. Nevertheless, it’s a good idea to discuss possible alternatives, perhaps by telling her about a nearby pharmacy that you know delivers medication to people living in the neighborhood.
See The Lesson For This Quiz
|Addressing Fair Housing Concerns Involving Mental Disabilities|