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Pets in a Co-op

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My mother who is severely deaf and father moved into a Brooklyn co-op more than 35 years ago. Their lease stated that no pets were allowed. My father passed away and my mother is alone. My mother removes her hearing aids at bedtime. I am concerned that if the fire alarm went off she would not hear it. If she had a small dog it could provide assistance. Does she have any recourse under the Disabilities Act?

Thank you for your assistance.

K*** I*******

[This post has been edited to remove personal information -moderator]

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There are fire alarm systems for hearing impaired folks; if there were no other alternatives and she needed an aid dog, that might be something she could address with the co-op folks in terms of an exception.

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Yes. Under federal law--the Fair Housing Amendments Act of 1988--a landlord/housing provider would be required to make an exception to a no-pets policy as a reasonable accommodation if it is necessary to enable a person with a disability to use and enjoy housing. Even if the need did not exist when the lease was signed, an accommodation can be requested whenever the need arises.

Here is a resource on exceptions to no-pets policies for people with disabilities. While it specifically discusses emotional support animals, it also applies to your mother's situation: http://www.bazelon.org/issues/housing/index.htm

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