Our condo Docs and are very clear. A unit may have 1 pet only. We have a Unit Owner who has 2 dogs. She knew she could only have one. She told many of the residents and even Board members that she could not split the dogs up. She then decided to make one of the dogs a service animal and said it would be easy for her Doctor to sign the paperwork. No one is judging so please do not misunderstand. We do understand that a service pet is different from a dog. The point is the docs say one pet only and the service animal is a pet. We have 254 unit owners. If everyone had a service pet and a dog we would have 508 animals on our premise. Again, no one is judging whether the pet is really a service animal but rather does she still need to follow the bylaws by having 1 pet or 1 pet AND service pet equaling 2 pets.
I believe you have a genuine dispute here. I'm not aware of any Florida case law on point but have seen other states go different directions on the issue. A service animal is normally used to help the disabled. As such, not allowing reasonable accommodation for the disable person can be viewed as a violation of the ADA. In light of court costs, I would see the best solution here as reaching out to the tenant and asking her to provide proof of the dog's certification as well as her own disability. If she doesn't want to provide that then I suppose you can sue her for breach of the lease agreement for having two pets and perhaps misrepresentation if an investigation gives reasonable belief she is lying about having a disability and thus the need for a "service animal" and has only designated him as such for purposes of circumventing the lease agreement. Hope this perspective helps.
In the future, you should tighten up your lease agreement to avoid these situations and the multiplier effect you described.
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