dogIt is becoming more common for people to claim their pets are assistance animals in order to get them into “no pets allowed” areas. New York City property owners are finding they need to walk a fine line when approving or denying requests for dogs and other pets to be allowed in apartments, condos, and other buildings.

From The New York Times:

What does it take to get a dog into a no-pet building?

The question is becoming a hot topic in New York City. Because depending on whom you ask, the answer is A) a legitimate disability or B) a dubious note from a doctor or therapist.

Most people know that federal, state and city laws require building owners and landlords to accommodate tenants who have disabilities — for instance, by waiving a no-pet rule for a blind resident’s guide dog. But word apparently is spreading about how broadly these laws define a disability, allowing people with a wide range of physical and mental conditions to seek waivers for their dogs.

Serious depression, chronic pain, AIDS, autism, dementia, cancer and heart disease are just some of the illnesses lawyers say can qualify as disabilities. And as New Yorkers trade advice about this topic in dog parks, elevators and online pet forums, the number of people applying for waivers is increasing “enormously,” said Darryl Vernon, a partner in the law firm Vernon & Ginsburg.

Mr. Vernon, who specializes in pet and housing law, cautioned that making your case to a landlord or co-op board takes more than just copying a doctor’s note someone posted online.

Read more here.