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Legal Issues

Iowa Publishes Standardized Form for Assistance and Service Animal Findings by Medical Providers - July 19, 2019

As noted in my prior 2019 Iowa legislative session blog, under Senate File 341, medical professionals who assist disabled tenants by providing opinions regarding assistance or service animals as a reasonable accommodation must now use an Iowa standardized form to document their findings that a tenant is disabled and has a disability-related need for such animal. This form had not yet been adopted at the time Senate File 341 was passed, but the new standardized form was released in the Iowa Administrative Bulletin published on July 17, 2019, and is effective immediately.

Impact on Landlords: With this change, landlords may now require tenants/applicants to produce the standardized form signed by a health care professional before allowing a requested assistance or service animal. Landlords should consult with their attorney about how to handle any other submitted documentation or certifications. 

The Details of the New Form: As expressly stated in the new standardized form, the medical professional shall not make a written finding that the tenant has a disability-related need for a service/assistance animal unless such professional:

  • met with the patient in person or by telemedicine; 
  • is sufficiently familiar with the patient and the disability; and
  • is legally and professionally qualified to make the finding.

Among other reasons, this law was implemented to combat prevent perceived tenant abuses, including tenants who submit a so-called “certification” for their assistance or service animal obtained by paying a small fee to a non-medical website and without meeting with a medical professional either in person or by telemedicine.

For further details, please see following rule makings pertaining to Civil Rights Commission [161] that were published in the 7/17/2019 Bulletin.

ARC 4551C -- Assistance animal as reasonable accommodation in housing—form, chapter 9 appendix A

Type: Notice of Intended Action
Public Hearing: 09/13/2019

ARC 4552C -- Assistance animal as reasonable accommodation in housing—form, chapter 9 appendix A
Type: Adopted and Filed Emergency
Effective: 06/26/2019

The following chapter(s) containing rule changes were published in the Iowa Administrative Code:

Effective date: 06/26/2019

Jodie McDougal | 515-288-2500 |

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