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Emotional Support Animals and Renting: What Are Your Rights?

Emotional Support Animals and Renting: What Are Your Rights?

There were nearly 200,000 emotional support animals in 2019. Millions of people live with disabilities and disorders that an emotional support animal could assist with. But what are the rules with renting? 

Do you have the right to an emotional support animal at your rental? If you're the landlord, you may be wondering what the law is around these animals. We're here to help!

Keep reading to understand the basics of emotional support animals and renting. 

Emotional Support Animals and Renting: An Overview

Renting a place to live can come with a lot of rules and requirements you have to navigate. Throw in trying to manage a disability or mental illness, and it all gets more difficult. We'll discuss how you can handle renting when you have an emotional support animal. 

What Are Emotional Support Animals?

Emotional support animals provide comfort for people with mental illnesses or disabilities. These animals are not required to go through special training. They provide companionship and emotional care. 

How to Get ESA Certification

An emotional support animal (ESA) certification is available for people to register for. However, it is not a requirement for renting.

The only documentation required is a formal letter from a mental health professional. It must state the pet provides emotional support on official letterhead. 

Support Animals and Tenant's Rights

The Federal Fair Housing Act allows people with disabilities to not be discriminated against. Landlords must make reasonable accommodations to allow disabled persons the opportunity to rent. This includes allowing service or emotional support animals in the building. 

A regular pet can be an emotional support animal if a mental health provider writes an official letter stating they help with mental illness. Reasonable accommodation may not be allowed if the support animal is large, such as a horse, or causes undue hardship to the landowner. 

A landlord cannot make you pay a pet fee for an emotional support animal. They can't restrict certain breeds or charge a higher rental price due to the animal. 

Support Animals and Landlord's Rights 

The Federal Fair Housing Act prohibits landlords from turning away a tenant based on a service or emotional support animal. Landlords and property owners are expected to make reasonable accommodations for these types of animals, even if the property has a no-pets rule. 

Landlords have the right to request proper documentation to verify the animal meets the requirements. Landlords cannot do the following: 

  • Charge tenants more rent for the animal
  • Ask about the disability 
  • Require registration or special training
  • Refuse occupancy  

Interested in learning more about property management services? Let someone else navigate emotional support animals! Check out what we offer. 

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This article educated you on the basics of emotional support animals and renting. We hope it answered your questions! 

Do you have questions about our property management or our services? Contact us today for more information.