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Renting Apartment With an ESA

Renting an Apartment With an Emotional Support Animal – What You Should Know

Science says that playing with dogs can release endorphins and oxytocin and reduce cortisol levels. If you have an emotional support animal, there are federal laws for protecting you against discrimination in housing. In this post,

ESA owners often have several questions when requesting landlords for reasonable accommodation. In this post, we are going to cover them and talk about the ESA housing rights.

Do I Have to Pay Extra Deposits to Live With my Emotional Support Animal?

This is a common question tenants have when renting an apartment with their emotional support animals. Under the Fair Housing Act (FHA), landlords can’t charge additional fees from tenants for considering their request for accommodation with their ESAs.

However, your landlord may charge you the cost of repairs of damages to the property by your assistance animal. They may cover the expenses from your security deposit.

So, it’s important to train your ESA. Although the law says that emotional support animals don’t require any specialized training, still you should teach it some basic commands. Giving rewards for good behavior can help your support animal learn things quickly. You can use the 3D technique, distance, duration, and distraction to embed the positive behavior further.

Can I Live With my Emotional Support Animal in Regions With a “No-Pet Policy”

Some landlords have a “no-pet allowed” policy for their tenants. But, does it apply to emotional support animals?

It’s important to note that emotional support animals aren’t normal pets. They help people with mental disabilities such as anxiety, depression, PTSD, etc. deal with their symptoms. Thus, rules of normal pets don’t apply on ESAs. In other words, tenants can live with their emotional support animals in apartments, even in regions with a “no-pet policy.”

Also Read- Manage Depression Symptoms With an Emotional Support Animal

Can my Landlord Deny my Emotional Support Animal?

No. The FHA protects individuals with disabilities against discrimination in housing. Under the law, tenants can legally live with their emotional support animals in rental apartments. However, they need to show relevant documents proving their disabilities and need for pet therapy.

For tenants, informing their landlords about ESAs may be challenging. This is probably due to the fact that landlords are unaware of emotional support animal laws. So, the first step is to educate your landlord about your rights as an ESA owner.

Your landlord has the right to ask you to show your emotional support animal letter, but they can’t deny you housing. Additionally, they can’t ask you to provide detailed information about your disability.

However, the landlord may deny you housing in some situations, such as

  • The building has four units, and the owner occupies one unit
  • Single-family house rented out by the owner without a realtor
  • The ESA is too large for the apartment
  • The ESA letter is expired
  • The emotional support animal causes damage the property or has become a threat to others

Related- Do Emotional Support Animal Letters Expire? How do I Get a Renewal?

What to do if my Landlord Continues Discriminating me Against Emotional Support Animal?

Firstly, you should request your landlord for reasonable accommodation. We advise you to do so by sending an email or letter.

If they are still discriminating you against ESA, file an HUD complaint. Most landlords follow laws and approve their tenants’ requests for reasonable accommodation. Remember, fight for your rights and rules are there to protect you against discrimination.

You can file a discrimination complaint online. Or, download and complete an HUD discrimination form, and mail it to the HUD office. For more details, visit www.hud.gov/offices/fheo or call 1-800-669- 9777.

Where Can I Take my Emotional Support Animal?

You may take your emotional support animal to places where the general public is allowed, such as gardens, pool areas, etc. The Department of Housing has confirmed that ESAs can be taken to places where normal people can go.

However, you should check the ESA rules before visiting a public place. For instance, emotional support animals aren’t allowed in Walmart stores. Their sign boards say that “service animals allowed, no pets.” According to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), ESAs don’t qualify as service animals.

Who Can Write an Emotional Support Animal Letter For me?

To enjoy ESA housing benefits, you need to register your pet as an emotional support animal. For this, you need to consult a licensed mental health professional (LMHP), such as a psychologist, psychiatrist or therapist. However, your physician can also write an ESA letter if they are authorized to do so.

The LMHP will carefully evaluate your medical condition, and check your medical reports. If they think you require animal-assisted therapy for managing your symptoms, they will provide you an emotional support animal letter.

We at My ESA Doctor is a top medical clinic where you can apply for your emotional support animal letter online. Here’s the complete process-

  • Sign up for an account online
  • Talk to a licensed mental health practitioner via HIPAA-compliant software
  • If approved, receive your ESA letter in PDF format via email

Tips to Talking to a Doctor For Emotional Support Animal Letter

  • Learn about your medical condition and how pet therapy is helping you ease your symptoms
  • Keep your medical records to show your doctor
  • Talk to the doctor about the health benefits you are receiving from your assistance animal
  • Be confident and honest when asking the doctor to write an emotional support animal letter

In Conclusion

Federal laws, the ADA and the FHA, protect individuals with disabilities in the United States. Under the FHA, tenants can live with their emotional support animals in apartments without paying extra pet deposits to their landlords. A landlord may ask a tenant to show their ESA letter, but can’t deny them housing.

If your landlord isn’t providing you reasonable accommodation, talk to them about your rights as an ESA owner. If they still discriminate against your assistance animal, you can file an HUD complaint.

Talk to a therapist online to get your ESA letter today!

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