Apartment Lease Troubles

Prior to Nox's Arrival, we had moved to a new apartment complex called Kia Ora Luxury Apartments. When we moved in, we advised the leasing office that I, have a physical disability and would eventually be needing a service dog. We were told that "As long as he's a service dog, that's perfectly fine, but we do ask you let us know in advance" completely reasonable, this meant I didn't need to pay a $500 pet deposit, nor pet rent. Now I was responsible for any damages that Nox would create, which I accepted responsibility for. A few days prior to his arrival, I had called the leasing office to let them know when Nox would be arriving. I was met with "If you want a service dog to live in your apartment, I'll need a medical doctor's note with your disability, the dogs vaccination reports, a picture of the dog and a letter stating he is certified." Completely understanding the vaccination reports reasoning, and the picture so that he could be easily identified I was fine with, but uneasy about providing my private medical information, I did some research. I felt like I was being attacked rather than helped by my leasing department. When I started reading off the laws about service dogs from the ADA website which states Q5. Does the ADA require service animals to be professionally trained? A. No. People with disabilities have the right to train the dog themselves and are not required to use a professional service dog training program. My leasing office manager stated "Look, I know the law, if you don't get this it's a no go." When I said that I'll just have to contact The ADA to File A Complaint I was told "Go for it, see where it gets you."  and I got disconnected on. Feeling upset and now embarrassed, I reached out to some people who already had service dogs for advice and made these letters.

Letter To Place of Housing

To Whom it May Concern

Dear ______________________,

I am a tenant at ___________________________________________, I have a psychiatric/ physical disability and a service animal, as defined under the Federal Fair Housing Amendments Act of 1988 (42 U.S.A.3601, et seq). Noctis, my service dog, is trained to calm me from PTSD Episodes, Panic, and Anxiety Attacks. He is in training to be able to retrieve items for myself seeing as I am permanently disabled in my leg. Although the rules at _____________________ say that there is a “No Pet Policy” and or a “Pet Rent Fine” restricting types of pets to permit trained service animals to reside with their disabled handlers. I am therefore requesting that you modify those rules to permit me to have my trained service dog reside with me. My doctor has prescribed me an Emotional Support Animal (ESA) to ensure my emotional well being,  and a Service Animal (SA) to ensure my mental well being, and that I am disabled and in need of/ and use a ESA/SA animal. I have attached verification that my doctors explaining that I am in their care, and  I am therefore requesting a reasonable accommodation under the federal Fair Housing Amendment Act of 1988 (42 U.S.C. 3601, et seq.)
I have attached verification from my doctors of my private disability; as well as vaccinations of my service dog.

Please send your reply in writing about this request for accommodation within ten business days or by ___________________. Thank you for your time and consideration, and I look forward to receiving your reply.
X______________________________________________                                            ___________
Katharine Hainley                                                                                                                          Date

Under the ADA, a service animal is defined as a dog that has been individually trained to do work or perform tasks for an individual with a disability.  The task(s) performed by the dog must be directly related to the person's disability. People with disabilities have the right to train the dog themselves and are not required to use a professional service dog training program. Covered entities may not require documentation, such as proof that the animal has been certified, trained, or licensed as a service animal, as a condition for entry. In situations where it is not obvious that the dog is a service animal, staff may ask only two specific questions: (1) is the dog a service animal required because of a disability? and (2) what work or task has the dog been trained to perform? Staff are not allowed to request any documentation for the dog, require that the dog demonstrate its task, or inquire about the nature of the person's disability. The ADA does not require service animals to wear a vest, ID tag, or specific harness.

I had 3 doctors, my orthopedic surgeon for my leg, my psychiatrist for my PTSD and Panic attacks and my primary doctor for my anxiety attacks all sign a similar letter. My doctors were unfamiliar with the needs of someone with a service dog, as were a lot of other doctors and I had a hard time finding those who would listen, I explained to my doctors that I'd attach the laws pertaining to what they were signing, stating it's simply saying "you agree that it's in my best medical interest to have an animal that can support me in day to day living, be it by physically helping me or emotionally, or mentally." to which my doctors agreed to and signed the documents. What I sent by the doctors was:

Dear _______________________,
(Patients name) is my patient, and has been under my care since __________________,
I am intimately familiar with their history and with the functional limitations imposed by their disability. He/ She meets the definition of disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Fair Housing Act, and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.
Due to (disability), (Patient) has certain limitations regarding (reasons, can include PTSD etc) and other conditions, in order to help alleviate these difficulties, and to enhance their ability to live independently and to fully use and enjoy the dwelling unit you own and/or administer, (patient) wishes to continue to train a service dog for themselves which will perform tasks which mitigate their other disabilities, including (what the animal will assist you with) and assist her in day to day living.
_________________________________________                                                ______________
Doctors name                                                                                                            Date
I explained to the leasing office that my dog is training to notice when I'm having an panic attack and to keep me calm in situations, to be able to sense when I'm about to have an anxiety attack and breakdown, which Nox was trained to do. I included the Fair Housing, ADA Act, and Rehab act in each letter to each doctor and to the leasing office.

This solved the problem, and I've never had an issue since. I keep this letter in his passport taped in.
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