Emotional Support Animal Laws for Rentals: What You Need to Know
Renting an apartment in a city has become easier than before with the introduction of web platforms. Most of the facilities available in an apartment are mentioned online along with the images of the property. But when it comes to policies or restrictions related to pets, there is no clear information about it available in most of the rental advertisements. So, it becomes important to have information about the Emotional Support Animal Laws and regulations for rental properties.
What is an ESA?
ESAs are different than normal pets. Their main purpose is to comfort the owner in order to treat the owner’s depression, anxiety, and other mental health conditions. They do not require any specific training which means a normal pet can be turned into an ESA if the owner is having a mental issue that needs the support of the pet.
Although most of the time it is a dog or a cat, it is not necessary that only dogs and cats could be ESA. It can be any animal that is providing some kind of emotional support to the owner. ESAs have become even more popular after the Covid pandemic. This is because many people had to stay in their homes for a long period of time which resulted in mental health issues that can be treated through an ESA.
What are ESA laws for rentals?
The Fair Housing Act or FHA was established in 1968. It is a federal law that governs the rights and obligations of landlords and tenants. According to the FHA, tenants having an ESA with an ESA letter can’t be refused rental housing by landlords. Even if an apartment owner has set up strict guidelines for no pets, it is the responsibility of the owner to set up suitable accommodation for the ESA.
What is an ESA letter?
An emotional support animal letter or an ESA letter is a signed confirmation from a person’s mental health counselor or doctor that the company of the animal is important for the patient’s treatment of a certain mental health condition. The signee must be a state-licensed health professional. The letter should mention the time from which the patient is suffering from the mental problem and the reason for the need for an animal company.
An emotional support animal letter for housing can help the owner to get rental housing even at a pet restricted property at no additional cost. One can easily get an ESA letter for housing online through a simple process using Fast ESA Letter.
Tenant Protections Under FHA
Tenants have the following protections according to FHA:
- The emotional support animal is not required to have any specialized training.
- Regardless of ESA coverage in property insurance, a landlord has to provide housing to the tenant with ESA.
- Other than payments for any damage caused by the ESA, the tenant cannot be asked for any additional costs related to allowing the ESA.
What should be done in case of non-compliance by the landlord?
It can be a difficult situation for both tenant and landlord when the landlord has to allow a tenant with an ESA, especially in housing where pets aren’t normally allowed. It is important for both parties to have mutual respect and information about the housing laws. The landlord can be sued for discrimination if he continues to refuse the demand of a tenant’s housing rights.
A rental business could only survive if it follows the laws and regulations set by the government. A complaint can be registered by the tenant with the US department of housing and urban development. Escalating the situation should be avoided by reaching an agreement that would be beneficial to both the landlord and the tenant.
For what reasons can an ESA be denied by the landlord?
There are some legit reasons for which a landlord has the right to deny housing to an ESA. These reasons include:
Normal housings have a limited amount of area or space. It might get difficult to house a big animal in a small space. The landlord may deny the housing to ESA in this kind of situation. For example, a landlord cannot allow a cow to be housed in the 5th-floor apartment.
Some animals are not suitable for living with humans as they are dangerous or maybe a risk to the safety of other tenants. The landlord can deny housing to such animals for safety purposes. Also, if a specific animal is not allowed to be kept as a pet by the state government, the landlord can refuse the housing to the tenant.
The documentation provided to the landlord regarding the ESA should be complete and legitimate. If the tenant is not able to provide an ESA letter to the landlord, the housing may be refused. The letter should be on the official letterhead of the medical health professional who has diagnosed the tenant and should be signed and dated by the same person.
If an animal is allowed to live with the tenant but the behavior of the animal is not good, the landlord may ask the tenant to leave the property. There are many animals who are normally calm but get angry very easily or change their behavior due to some reason. These animals can be a danger to other residents on the premises. Asking a tenant with such an ESA to leave the property for the safety of the rest seems a fair decision.
So, whether a person is a landlord or a tenant, awareness of the housing laws is important to maintain a good healthy relationship with each other. People who need ESAs for their living need to be taken care of while keeping everybody around them safe.
How to get an ESA letter?
You can get an ESA letter quickly and easily through Fast ESA Letter. You just need to fill out an evaluation form. You will need to enter your details, your pet details, and some information about your mental health.
After you submit the application, your information will be shared with a state-licensed health professional according to the state address provided by you. The professional will evaluate your application to determine your eligibility for an ESA letter. The professional may also try to reach you for any additional information required. If you are found eligible, you will get an ESA letter within 24 hours of your application.