05/17/2018 Round Table Discussion

To Our Valued Members:
We had a great Round Table Meeting last night.  Thank you to those that attended!
Guest Speakers: 
                          Carolyn Capistrano,  Housing Equality Center  of PA, 
                                                              Outreach & Communications Coordinator

                          Lee Stivale, Esquire
 
Topic: Fair Housing & HB 2049 

The Service Animal Integrity Act outlines requirements for documentation of the need for an assistance animal or service animal in housing and for the offenses of
misrepresentation of entitlement to assistance animal or service animal and
misrepresentation of the animal as assistance animal or service animal.
We would like to thank our Guest Speakers!!  Carolyn & Lee provided great information and shared some of their personal insights and horror stories 
Carolyn Capistrano is a wonderful contact to have made!  Call her!  Call before
complaints are filed!   Call for landlord/tenant consultations, call for investigations, call for risk management.  Call anonymously…or not, but call!  Visit the Landlord Resource Center on her website.  Liabilities with Fair Housing Act issues are significant!
 

 Carolyn Capistrano
   Housing Equality Center of PA
   Intake & Outreach Coordinator
   267-419-8918 x 2
   capistrano@equalhousing.org
   equalhousing.org

One of the topics of our Round Table was how to respond to Assistance Animal requests
(and requests from tenants with disabilities in general).
Assistance Animal requests are taken advantage of the most.  On-Line Certificates are Phony – does not qualify as proof of disability.  Service Animal does not have to have any training. Disability:  if obvious you can not ask for any additional documentation (cane/walker,blind)

If the need isn’t clear (mental health/PTSD) you can ask for documentation of disability-related need.

Documentation:  A Letter from qualified medical profession, on letterhead with a
physical address, currently being treated.  You do not have to discuss the disability.
Landlord not responsible for damage or injury. Tenant responsible for damages.
Exempt from Pet Fee or Pet Deposit.  Can not increase security deposit.  Vicious or
dangers animals are not allowed.

All rules for property/location apply.  Noise complaints, or not cleaning up after the
service animal are causes to evict.

PA has additional protected class:  users, trainers, owners of service/support animals
and also tenants over the age of 40 Philly adds a local level, age 56 and LGBT are protective classes

Does not guarantee right to housing they can not afford.  You can refuse to rent if no
recent rental history, violent or or disruptive behavior, convicted of distributing
controlled substance.

Allow reasonable modifications (ramps, enlarge doorways, accessible showers, etc) 

A handicapped tenant will stay!
   

Tenant pays for modifications with qualified contractor.  All improvements – do it
right!  pay the difference if needed!
   

Landlord must approve modifications, always communicate!  Tenant also pays to have unit restored to original condition*
*consider leaving unit handicap-accessible. The Local Center for Independent Living
will find you an alternate tenant if you have an accessible unit!
              
Tenant must demonstrate reasonable ability that they can afford to restore unit back to original condition

What is reasonable?  … Call Carolyn!
    on disability/SSDI, checks on 7th/8th – can ask for reasonable accommodation to pay rent after check rec’d
    install ramps, enlarge doorways
    reserved parking
    enlarged print on documents
    you can say no to the elevator, chair lift may work
    no unfair financial responsibility on the landlord
    has to relate to disability
 
Don’t say the wrong thing!  
    Kindness and sensitivity goes a long way!

Always say Yes!  Or, let me get back to you.  Respond!  
   Remember, they must also qualify as a prospective tenant, subject to standard qualifying requirements. 

Make sure all rules apply to all residents!
Record & document who applied, outcome and why.

We also discussed Student Housing Ordinance, and student permit / student rentals.
    
We may want to review census status, is the ordinance putting landlords at risk? 
creating segregated housing?  (limiting non related people in household and limiting
parking) collapses number of student rentals.  How many rentals are excluded where
landlords hands are tied?

We hope that both Carolyn & Lee join us again!.  For those of you who were able to
attend, we were pleased to have your participation, and we thank you for your valuable
contributions!
~ Kari
   WCAHA

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