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Ask Clare Your Own Question
Clare
Clare, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 34105
Experience:  I have been a solicitor in High Street Practice since 1985 with a wide general experience.
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My son was offered a housing association property. The property

Customer Question

My son was offered a housing association property. The property was listed as no pets allowed. In their policy document it said "permission will be given for guide dogs, hearing dogs, and assitance dogs". My son has medical evidence to say that his dog is of support to him due to his agoraphobia and social phobia and the giving his dog up would be detremental to his mental health. The housing association retracted their offer of housing as they said the dog had not been accredited by an assisted dog association. The cost of got the dog the booklet and branded jacket is prohibitive to my son £5,250 as he is on benifits.
Furthermore he is mental health issues and does not neccessarily want that advertised on a dogs jacket. Has my son been indirectly discriminated against?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
Hi
Thank you for your question.
My name is Clare
I will do my best to help you but I need some further information first.
Have you actually spoken to any of the Assistance Dogs Organisation?
Clare
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

I am in the process of doing that. But when I contacted the housing association and asked them if i were able to get the dog accredited would he be offered the property again; they told me "they would not be able to keep the property open for him".

There policy read we will accept assitance dogs, with supporting evidence.

He has supporting evidence from mental health source and his doctor.

Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
Hi
I am afraid that there is no indirect discrimination involved here.
There are many dogs whose existence is key to the mental health of their owner - but unless they have been specifically accredited then it does not mean that they qualify as Assistance dogs.
It is reasonable for the Local Authority to rule that in the context of allocating accommodation qualifying dogs must be Registered and trained by one of the Accredited bodies (the jacket they wear does NOT identify the disability involved)
On that basis whilst you r son is entitled to seek a Judicial review of the decision the chances of success are limited
However it would be worth contacting one of the major Mental Health Charities such as MIND to see if they would be interested in running this as a test case
Please ask if you need further details
Clare
Clare and other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Hi again

If indirect discrimination "a practice, polcy or rule which applies to everyone in the same way, but it has a worse effect on some people than others and puts that person at a particular disadvantaged".

Could it be argued 'my son for mental health reasons is unable to move without his dog. And that the accreditation that they seek puts him at a disadvantage as it is cost prohibitive.

Thank you for your time

Expert:  Clare replied 2 years ago.
Hi
It is an argument you can put - but the fact is that "assistance dog" refers to dogs trained for a purpose - not just a dog however integral to someone's mental health
However as I said your son can apply for a Judicial Review
Clare