The federal lawsuit against East River Housing has been settled, granting two cooperators the right to have a service or assistance animal, and opening a broad exception to any cooperator who can demonstrate the need for a similar four-legged companion.
The coop has agreed to a new “Reasonable Accommodation Policy” that directs management to commit to “granting reasonable accommodations to its rules, policies, practices, or services when such accommodations may be necessary to afford people with disabilities an equal opportunity to use and enjoy their dwellings, as required by federal, state and local law.”
As part of that new policy, assistance animals are allowed for any cooperator who can show that such an animal “alleviates one or more identified symptoms or effects of a person’s disability.” This includes emotional support, and may be supported by any health professional, “including, but not limited to, doctors, physician assistants, psychiatrists, psychologists, or social workers.”
Notably, the new policy makes clear, “While it is East River’s policy to not allow any pets at East River, service or assistance animals are not pets.”
The coop may request that a cooperator choose the smallest animal possible, but may not impose any size limit on service or assistance animals.
As previously reported, the settlement also includes $85,000 compensation to two cooperators, plus an additional $5,400 credit for maintenance and late fees.
You can read the full settlement here.