Disabled Tenant Can Keep Service Animal

By Bay Area Legal Services on February 18th

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Elsa was physically disabled after a car accident and had to take strong medications due to severe back pain.  Her sole source of income is her Social Security benefits.  For more than 10 years, Elsa has used a service animal to help her wake up.  Her little dog would bark and bother Elsa until she woke up if the door bell rang or an emergency alarm sounded.  Recently, the landlord instituted a no pet policy.  Elsa was told that she must remove her dog from the building.  She contacted BALS for help.  Her BALS’ attorney, served the landlord with a reasonable accommodation request that included medical documentation confirming Elsa’s need for medication and the use of a service animal.  In the meantime, Elsa and her dog moved out of the building and she had to make arrangements to stay with friends or family while the matter was pending.  The landlord refused the request and the parties went to mediation.  Her  BALS’ attorney, successfully negotiated the renewal of Elsa’s lease and the reinstatement of her service animal.

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