- The Americans with Disabilities Act
- The Fair Housing Act
- Air Carrier Access Act
- Does my pet qualify as an emotional support animal?
What is the Americans with Disabilities Act?
The Americans with Disabilities Act became a law in 1990. It is a civil rights law that prohibits the discrimination of individuals with disabilities in all areas of public life. This includes at work, school, in relation to transportation, and all public and private places open to the general public.
The purpose of the ADA law is to ensure all people with disabilities have the same rights and opportunities as everyone else. The ADA provides civil rights protections to individuals who have disabilities based on race, color, sex, national origin, age, and religion.
The Americans with Disabilities Act guarantees equal opportunity for individuals with disabilities in public accommodations, employment, transportation, state and local government services and telecommunications.
The Act has five titles or sections that relate to different areas of public life. These titles are Employment, State & Local Government, Public Accommodations, Telecommunications, and Miscellaneous Provisions.
What is the Fair Housing Act?
The Fair Housing Act prevents people from discrimination when they are renting, buying, or securing financing for housing. The act prohibits discrimination due to race, color, national origin, religion, sex, disability or the presence of children.
The Fair Housing Act covers most housing. In some cases, the Act will exempt owner-occupied buildings with no more than four units, single-family housing sold or rented without the use of a broker, and housing that an organization operates and private clubs that limit occupancy to members.
During the sale or rental of housing, no landlord or property owner may take any of the following actions based on the person’s race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status, or handicap…
- Refusal to rent or sell housing
- Refusal to negotiate for housing
- Make housing unavailable
- Deny a dwelling
- Set different terms or rules for sale or renting of a dwelling
- Providing different housing services or facilities
- Falsely deny that housing is available for inspection, sale, or rental
- For profit, persuade owners to sell or rent,
- Deny anyone access to or membership in a facility or service related to the sale or rental of housing.
Individuals who have a disability receive extra protection under the Fair Housing Act. If you or someone associated with you:
- Has a physical or a mental disability (including hearing, mobility or visual issues, chronic alcoholism, chronic mental illness, AIDS, AIDS Related Complex and mental retardation), that substantially limits one or more major life activities,
- Has a record of such a disability
- Are regarded as having such a disability
Then your Landlord may not…
- Refuse to allow you to make reasonable modifications to your dwelling or common use areas, at your expense, if necessary for the disabled person to use the home (where reasonable, the landlord may permit changes only if you agree to restore the property to its original condition when you move)
- Refuse to make reasonable accommodations in rules, policies, practices or services if necessary for the disabled person to use the housing, including allowing an emotional support animal to stay on the premises.
What is Air Carrier Access Act?
The Air Carrier Access Act prohibits the discrimination by the United States and foreign air carriers based on physical or mental disability. The Department of Transportation has issued a rule setting the standards of service where air carriers are expected to provide to disabled individuals.
The ACAA applies to individuals with disabilities who have a service animal or those who have an emotional support animal. It only applies to a person with disabilities and not to all persons who have a mental illness.
As defined by the Air Carrier Access Act, a physical or mental impairment is any physiological disorder or condition, cosmetic disfigurement, or anatomical loss affecting one or more of the following body systems:
- Special sense organs,
- Respiratory including speech organs
- Hemic and lymphatic
Or, any mental or psychological disorder such as organic brain syndrome, emotional or mental illness and specific learning disabilities.
The act states that air carriers must permit dogs and other service animals to go with the person on a flight. If an individual is traveling with a service animal, the carrier must provide either a bulkhead seat or a seat other than a bulkhead seat.
The Air Carrier Act also restricts airlines from charging fees for disabled persons with an emotional support animal.
Your Right to Fly: Documentation
- Identification cards
- Other written documentation
- Presence of a harness
- Other credible verbal assurances of the qualified individual with a disability using the animal
Does my pet qualify as an emotional support animal?
Your pet does not have to go through any type of specialized training in order to become your Emotional Support Animal. All domesticated animals are eligible to qualify for an ESA and the pet can be any age, young or old. Eligible ESA animals are listed below:
- Mini pigs
These animals do not require task-training because it is their very presence that mitigates the symptoms associated with a person’s emotional or psychological disability. Unlike a service dog, the only requirement is that the animal is manageable in public and that it does not create a problem in or around the home setting.
It can be a great benefit to have your own pet be your ESA because the relationship between the two of you has already been established. Once your pet is qualified as an ESA, you will be able to take it along with you wherever you go without any limitations.
Your dog or cat can:
- Travel with you to the store, the doctor’s office, pharmacy, or any other location.
- It can live with you in your apartment, or rental home even if your landlord already has a “no pets” policy in force.
- And your pet is allowed to travel with you on flights without restrictions.