Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Skruffy One – Condo Zero

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At the end of March I blogged that we had to file a HUD complaint against the Condo due to conditions the Condo Association was trying to force on us as a condition to them allowing a service dog to live with us.  Of course the very next day I blogged about the fire which wiped out our motorhome….and Skruffy seemed to be on the back burner.  However, she was not.  We filed our complaint around March 24th.  By mid April our lawyer, who is really a real estate lawyer, asked if he could back out of the Service Dog issue, and we agreed…..if we needed a lawyer for this, we would hire one which deals with Service Dog issues, and I had one picked out if we needed to go that far….but we did not wish for this to go that far. 

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April 29th I finally was asked by HUD to provide more information….copy of letter from the Doctor, dates, issues, etc.  I sent my response that day, and receipt was acknowledged.  There was also a small blurb about “back log” and “don’t know how long it will be before we get to it”.
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Well, June 19th we received a “official” HUD complaint form which we needed to sign, but some of the information on the form was not accurate.  By the 20th everything had been fixed, we signed, and awaited once again.

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On June 27th in steps “Bob” from the Florida Commission on Human Relations.  What a SUPER NICE guy Bob is.  After an initial request for some more information, we schedule a “phone interview’' for Monday, June 30th.  In that phone call he reveals that he had already talked with the Condo Lawyers, and they “sounded as though” they might want to resolve this before it goes any further.  (My first thoughts….why did they not contact me a few months ago before it got this far?)  He said that it sounded like the only issue was the “waiver” that they insisted that we sign which included a whole bunch of rules and ignored our rights before they would agree to us having a service dog.  Bob, who had to remain neutral did point out to the lawyer that one item they were asking us to sign was for Skruffy to keep quiet, yet the Doctor said in his letter that one of the things the dog would be used for is to alert Marcia that someone is at the door by barking.  Bob asked that I write up what in their agreement was unacceptable, and if I wanted, to write up an acceptable waiver.  

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So I took their waiver, did a “red line” through all of the items we did not agree with, and in “Green Print” the reason we did not agree with what they issued.  I also rewrote their waiver so that it did not look like a set of rules, but instead did the following:
  • Acknowledged the needs of the individual who requested the use of a Service Dog
  • Acknowledged that the dog could fulfill those needs, and that the dog could go anywhere the person who needed the dog could go
  • Finally, an agreement that the person requesting the service dog would keep it under control, clean up after it, and be responsible for any damage done directly by the dog.
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Well, today we heard that the Condo Association would agree to our re-written waiver, and that the issue is essentially resolved.  I sent a signed copy to the Association’s lawyer, sent a signed withdrawal of complaint to Bob, and emailed signed copies to Bob of both.  

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It sure put that smile back on their faces…. ours too.

10 comments:

  1. Well done. I love it when the individual with common sense prevails against rules made for the sake of rules. still don't know how you live with such people as your neighbors. Doesn't Marcia really need two service dogs??? :-)

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    1. We wish we could get Bubba in there too....but we are just grateful that Skruffy is official now. I have offered my services to the board to assist them in making a "Therapy Animal" waiver, and also guidelines for people who are visiting with either a Service Dog or a Therapy Animal. I am afraid that one of these days a visitor who has a Service Dog is going to arrive and they are going to "grill them" and get sued over it. There are essentially two questions you are allowed to ask, why is the service dog needed (and only "if" the person does not look like they need one) and what does the dog do to assist you. I can see them telling a blind person that they cannot have their dog there since they don't live there....that's how ignorant of the law they are.

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  2. Praise God! Hallelujah! Thank You, Lord! Prayer works! :)

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    Replies
    1. It sure took long enough...but yes.

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  3. Replies
    1. Wish we were headed east now, but we still have another seven to eight weeks, then Utah, Colorado and Arkansas before getting to Florida.

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  4. Great news...so glad it has all worked out and Scruffy can stay with you.

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    1. Definitely one big headache gone away....

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  5. Glad to hear that you can now put this issue behind you. You have had a challenging year the way it is and don't need this dragging on as well.

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    1. Yes, it has been a bit of a challenge, but nothing compared to what others are going through, that's for sure. We are just glad it is behind us, and now perhaps we can help educate others in the complex about Service Dogs and the benefits one can get from having one.

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