Support Animals in West Cobb Communities: Should They Be Allowed?

Support Animals in West Cobb Communities: Should They Be Allowed?

In a recent study, every participant with a support animal showed improvement in their mental and emotional health. It's clear that support animals can have a huge positive impact, and yet some HOAs still don't want them in their communities.

Can HOAs reject homeowners with support animals? Should they? We're here to answer those questions and more.

Read on to learn all about support animals and what you should do about them in your HOA.

What Are Support Animals?

Emotional support animals (otherwise known as ESAs) are animals, usually dogs or cats (though they don't have to be) that give comfort and companionship to people with emotional or mental health issues. As the name implies, they provide emotional support.

ESAs are recommended (and even "prescribed") by mental health professionals to help with conditions like anxiety and depression, among others. The law, including the Fair Housing Act (FHA), allows people to ask for special considerations in housing for their emotional support animals without any extra charges or restrictions.

That means that, yes, regardless of your HOA pet rules, you must allow support animals.

Support Animals VS Pets and Service Animals

Many people confuse support animals with pets or service animals, but these three "types" of animals are all quite different.

Support animals and service animals may also be pets, but they're not "just" pets. Pets don't have real jobs or tasks that have to do with their owner's health or overall well-being. Pets have no coverage or protection under the Fair Housing Act or the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Service animals have specific training for health or wellness-related tasks and jobs. They have coverage under the ADA and they have a lot of special protections that neither pets nor ESAs have. Only certain types of animals can be service animals.

ESAs or support animals have coverage under the Fair Housing Act. They don't need specific training (though they may have it). Most types of common pets can be ESAs.

Rules for HOAs and Support Animals

When it comes to allowing support animals in your HOA, you don't have a choice. You can not reject a homeowner's request for a support animal or reject a new homeowner for having a support animal. You also can not impose any pet fees, breed restrictions, size restrictions, or pet deposits.

You can, however, require the homeowner to leash their ESA outside, clean up after it, and ensure that it doesn't bother others.

You Must Allow Support Animals In Your HOA

There's no doubt about it. Regardless of how you feel about pets, you must allow support animals in your West Cobb HOA if you don't want to be on the wrong side of the law. You wouldn't want to make your community inaccessible to people who struggle with mental or emotional disabilities!

Do you need help with your HOA in West Cobb, GA? At PMI Cornerstone, we customize our services to each and every client we serve so we can offer the best possible help. Schedule a consult with our team today.