As attorneys who specialize in the practice of community association law, we often hear folks talk about service animals and the Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA"). What most folks don’t understand is the ADA doesn’t apply to private residential HOAs. Instead, the ADA requirements relating to service animals apply to HOAs that provide a place of public accommodation – like condominium hotels. These requirements will also apply to those HOAs which share amenities like swimming pools and open them up to the public.
It’s important to note that associations which permit owners to privately rent their units would not be classified as a condominium hotel which would trigger application of the ADA. Instead, in order for the ADA provisions relating to service animals to apply, the HOA would need to have a room reservation system for renting out rooms or provide hotel-type services to short-term renters. If you are unsure whether the ADA applies to your HOA, please contact your legal counsel for guidance.
For private residential HOAs that are not required to comply with the ADA, the Fair Housing Act applies and regulates assistance animals in these communities in a more permissive way. Here’s a link to more information on Fair Housing Act requirements relating to assistance animals.
So back to the ADA. The United States Department of Justice has just issued an updated Frequently Asked Questions about service animals and the ADA. In particular, the FAQ addresses issues relating to service animals being permitted into facilities in HOAs. For those condominium hotels in the mountains and across Colorado which must comply with these requirements, we think you will find the FAQ both easy to read and understandable.