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Florida Condo & HOA Legal Blog News & Updates on Condo & HOA Laws & Legislation in the State of Florida

Category Archives: Disability

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HOA Documents and The “Florida Sober Home Bill”

Posted in Association Documents, Disability, Governing Documents, Reasonable Accommodations or Modifications

Question: The issue of “sober houses” and other types of group homes has arisen in our community. We would like to know if we can amend our homeowners’ association documents to prohibit such uses? (S.W. by e-mail) Answer: In 2016, the Florida Legislature adopted the “Florida Sober Home Bill,” which creates a new certification for… Continue Reading

Becker & Poliakoff Announces New Condominium & HOA Classes

Posted in Budgets, Reserves & Financial, Construction Issues & Contractual Disputes, Hurricane/Disaster Issues, Service Animals/Emotional Support Animals

We are committed to sharing our legal knowledge to help others. We do so by offering State-approved educational resources in various forms, including more than two dozen courses, conferences, panel discussions, personal meetings, and webinars that you can conveniently attend from your office or home. With this many available options, it is easy for your… Continue Reading

Service Dog Handlers in Florida Condominium Associations

Posted in Covenant Enforcement/Violations, Reader Q&A, Rules & Regulations, Service Animals/Emotional Support Animals

Question: We recently received an application from a prospective tenant who is a “service dog handler”. He trains dogs for disabled people. Our condominium documents prohibit tenants from keeping pets. Must we allow him to keep and train dogs while living in the community? N.M. (via e-mail) Answer: Disabled individuals are afforded certain rights and… Continue Reading

Must Community Associations in Florida Provide Handicapped Parking?

Posted in Discrimination/Fair Housing, Reader Q&A, Reasonable Accommodations or Modifications

Question: In a previous blog you stated that under some circumstances an association may be required to designate a particular parking space for an owner’s use if they were handicapped. What provision of the fair housing laws would require such a designation?  L.K. (via e-mail) Answer: I believe you are referring to my December 4,… Continue Reading

Are Wheelchair Lifts Required For Private HOA Pools?

Posted in Disability, Reader Q&A, Reasonable Accommodations or Modifications

Question: We live in a large gated community of over a thousand homes. Our homeowners’ association’s swimming pool is inaccessible to people with severe disabilities. Is there any way to force our HOA to provide a lift for those that need help to enter the pool?  J.C. (via e-mail) Answer: Under the Americans with Disabilities… Continue Reading

U.S. Department of Justice publishes “Frequently Asked Questions about Service Animals and the ADA”.

Posted in Discrimination/Fair Housing, Legislation, Service Animals/Emotional Support Animals

We often receive inquiries about the Americans’ with Disabilities Act (ADA) vs. the Fair Housing Act (FHA). The ADA is the federal law that allows disabled persons to have a service animal.  The ADA applies to places of public accommodation, such as hotels, restaurants, and other businesses or facilities which invite the public or permit public… Continue Reading

Can the Association Board of Directors Limit the Amount of Pets on a Property?

Posted in Rules & Regulations, Service Animals/Emotional Support Animals, Uncategorized

Question: If the restrictive covenants of a H.O.A. in Florida allow for “traditional” household pets to be kept (dogs, for instance)—provided that they are not kept for commercial purposes—does the Association Board of Directors have the authority to adopt rules limiting the NUMBER of dogs kept on a particular property? – R.W. Answer: If the… Continue Reading

What is Your Community’s Most Outlandish Emotional Support Animal Request?

Posted in Education, Service Animals/Emotional Support Animals

I am going to preface this blog post by stating that there are individuals who struggle with emotional disabilities and who can legitimately benefit from the use of an emotional support animal. However, this blog post is not about those people. Unfortunately, those of us who live in shared ownership communities, serve on their boards… Continue Reading

Does The ADA Apply To Condominiums in Florida?

Posted in Reader Q&A, Reasonable Accommodations or Modifications, Rental

Question: In a condominium that permits short term rentals, must the property be ADA compliant and who must make these modifications or alterations? J.B. (via e-mail) Answer: This is an extremely complex area of law. Important additional facts would include when the building was constructed, how many units are rented out on a short term… Continue Reading

Regulating Vicious Breeds Of Pets Not Uncommon in HOAs

Posted in Covenant Enforcement/Violations, Reader Q&A, Rules & Regulations, Service Animals/Emotional Support Animals

Question: I am a tenant in a community with a homeowners’ association. The association’s recorded documents say that each home may have no more than two dogs. There are no additional restrictions on size or breed of the two dogs found in the recorded documents. However, the lease application I was asked to complete asks… Continue Reading

Support and Service Animals Present Thorny Legal Issues for Condominiums

Posted in Covenant Enforcement/Violations, Discrimination/Fair Housing, Reader Q&A, Rules & Regulations, Service Animals/Emotional Support Animals

Question: Our condominium building has two guest suites that can be rented by an owner for use by the owner’s overnight guests. Our declaration limits pets to 35 pounds in owners’ units and prohibits animals in the guest suites. We recently had a situation where a guest wanted to bring an emotional support animal into… Continue Reading

Handicap Parking Space Requirements Subject to a Variety of Laws

Posted in Disability, Discrimination/Fair Housing, Reader Q&A, Reasonable Accommodations or Modifications

Question: How many handicapped parking spaces is our community required to have, where must they be placed and what local, state or federal law governs? J.B. (via e-mail) Answer: The requirements for handicapped parking spaces in any community can vary greatly depending on the age of the community, the type of community, the number of… Continue Reading

Listen live Tuesday – Condo & HOA Issues WLRN 91.3 FM with attorney Donna DiMaggio Berger

Posted in Hurricane/Disaster Issues, Legislation, Service Animals/Emotional Support Animals

Community Association attorney and blogger Donna DiMaggio Berger will be the featured guest on WLRN radio show, Topical Currents at 1 pm, Tuesday December 2, 2014.  Donna will be discussing topics that can affect all types of community associations including emotional support and service animal requests, rental and sale restrictions, 55+ communities, material alterations and… Continue Reading

CALL Alert: ADA Tester Lawsuits and Sprinkler Opt Out Votes

Posted in CALL Alert, Disability, Discrimination/Fair Housing, Reasonable Accommodations or Modifications

We have recently been receiving information about some resort-type private communities who are being sued by an ADA Tester who visits these private communities and  claims that he has been denied full and equal access and full and equal enjoyment of the facilities, services, goods and amenities within the community. Since some private communities provide… Continue Reading

Condo or HOA breed restrictions don’t apply in fair housing accommodation requests

Posted in Disability, Discrimination/Fair Housing, Reasonable Accommodations or Modifications, Service Animals/Emotional Support Animals

There has been press about a case pending in Miami-Dade County over whether an owner is entitled to keep a dog in his unit as a reasonable accommodation for his disability. Issues concerning service and emotional support animals are highly charged and can result in significant liability for an association. As we have discussed in… Continue Reading

Donna DiMaggio Berger Interviewed on Topical Currents on WLRN: Condominium And Homeowner Association Call-In Program

Posted in Legislation, Service Animals/Emotional Support Animals

On Tuesday, June 14th, 2014,  Topical Currents was an “At Your Service” edition, with community association attorney, Donna Berger. After returning to the law firm Becker & Poliakoff, she has been working to create new initiatives for community associations as well as addressing service animals and emotional-support animal requests in communities. Click here to listen to… Continue Reading

Legislative Session Update Week 6 — CALL Alert for April 11, 2014

Posted in CALL Alert, Legislation, Service Animals/Emotional Support Animals

As week 6 comes to an end, everyone is looking forward to a “mini-break” in the action next week.  The House and Senate have decided not to meet next week because of the Passover and Easter holidays.  However, we all know that it’s not really a break and there will be much strategizing and behind… Continue Reading

Good News on Community Association Bill and Service Animal Bill — CALL Alert for April 8, 2014

Posted in CALL Alert, Legislation, Service Animals/Emotional Support Animals

I am excited to tell you about new developments on two of the bills that CALL is tracking and actively working on during this legislative session. First, HB 807, by Rep. Moraitis, will be amended to include language to overrule the Aventura Management, LLC v. Spiaggia Ocean Condominium Association case which was discussed in a… Continue Reading

Accommodation Requests Under the Fair Housing Act: Live Webinar on March 18

Posted in Discrimination/Fair Housing, Events, Reasonable Accommodations or Modifications, Service Animals/Emotional Support Animals

Is your HOA or condo board seeing more and more requests for exceptions to your pet rules?  What about requests for specific parking spots or deviations from your architectural rules? Afraid saying no to any request will trigger a costly and stressful discrimination complaint against your HOA? Take charge of the process for handling requests… Continue Reading

HUD issues memo to housing providers regarding service animals and assistance animals for disabled persons

Posted in Disability, Discrimination/Fair Housing, Reasonable Accommodations or Modifications, Service Animals/Emotional Support Animals

 Fair Housing accommodation cases receive a lot of press.  It seems like there are more and more cases all the time, most of which are resolved at the investigative/agency level than actually filed in court or go to trial.   HUD issued a memorandum reminding housing providers of their obligations pursuant to the federal laws with… Continue Reading

Failing to Handle Requests for Reasonable Accommodations (Emotional Support Animals) Appropriately has Consequences

Posted in Disability, Discrimination/Fair Housing, Reasonable Accommodations or Modifications, Service Animals/Emotional Support Animals

The case against a condo association in Century Village reported by the Sun-Sentinel prompted me to alert readers of the consequences associated with violations of state and federal fair housing laws. If you aren’t familiar with the case click HERE for the most recent article.  In short, Broward County filed a lawsuit against the condominium association for discrimination and… Continue Reading