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Helmreich v. Novak

#W22-067 | Location: Tawas City | Court Level: Federal | Settlement: Non-disclosed

Categories: Mental / Emotional Disability, Rental
Tags: disability, Emotional Support Animal

Lisa Helmreich was looking for housing for herself, her husband, and their teenage son. Her son has a disability
and requires an emotional support animal (ESA), a small dog. She found out through her husband’s co-worker that
a unit was coming available at Ottawa Apartments in Iosco County. Rental housing in the area is difficult to find, so Ms.
Helmreich immediately went to speak to the manager. After some back and forth, the manager said she could rent the
apartment. When it became clear that an ESA would be living with the family, the manager told Helmreich that she should have told her up front that they had a dog and that no dogs were allowed. FHC staff wrote a letter to the manager, at Helmreich’s request, explaining fair housing law with regard to ESAs. The manager then gave an alternate reason for denying the family. The case was filed in U.S. Federal District Court on August 20, 2022 by FHC Cooperating Attorney Francyne Stacey and was assigned to the Honorable Terrance Berg.

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