Moosh - ESA dog in bed

Dogs are by far the most popular type of emotional support animal. As we speak, a vast army of ESA dogs is cheerfully helping its collective owners alleviate their depression and anxiety all across the US. Dogs make excellent ESAs because they are loyal and loving. The positive, happy vibe of an ESA dog is potent and infectious and rarely fails to overpower its owner’s low mood.

In America, mental health problems such as depression, anxiety, and loneliness are especially prevalent amongst millennials. Studies suggest that 20% of millennials suffer from depression, making them the most depressed generation. Among millennials, renting is a common housing situation. More millennials than any other generation in recent history are renting their accommodation. 12.3% of millennial renters currently plan to rent for life.

All of this means that a lot of Americans will be wanting to keep emotional support dogs in rental properties for the foreseeable future. And this throws up a few questions… Do landlords have to accept emotional support dogs? Can a landlord refuse an emotional support dog based on breed? When should I tell my landlord about my emotional support dog? What is good emotional support dog etiquette?

Read on to discover the answers to these important questions.

Moosh - ESA dog on couch
Image by PicsbyFran on Pixabay: Do landlords have to accept ESA dogs?

Do Landlords Have To Accept Emotional Support Dogs?

Yes, under the Fair Housing Act (FHA) landlords have to accept emotional support dogs. Under the FHA, it is illegal to discriminate against people with a mental or physical disability in the area of housing.

Landlords are required to provide “reasonable accommodations” for a person with a disability to be able to live in their property. And this includes allowing them to keep an ESA dog at the property, provided it does not cause an unreasonable disturbance to the landlord or neighbors.

Is It Illegal To Deny An Emotional Support Dog?

Although ESA dogs do not share as extensive a set of rights as service dogs, it is illegal to deny an emotional support dog in many settings.

It is illegal to deny ESA dogs in accommodation settings (when renting or buying accommodation) and on commercial airplanes (that are flying within the United States). Many public spaces, such as restaurants, malls, and theaters, will allow well-behaved ESA dogs, although they are not legally obligated to do so.

What Laws Deal With Emotional Support Dogs In Rental Properties?

The Fair Housing Act is the law that deals with ESA dogs in rental properties. It lays out what an ESA owner’s (and a landlord’s) rights are relating to ESA dogs in rental properties.

What Are The Rules Surrounding Emotional Support Dogs In The Fair Housing Act Law?

Under the FHA, an emotional support dog is considered a “reasonable accommodation” that should be allowed when a person with a mental health problem needs it. The FHA states that this applies even in buildings that have a “No Pets” policy.

Can Landlords Refuse An Emotional Support Dog Based On Breed?

No, landlords cannot refuse an ESA dog based on breed. A dog is a recognized and accepted species of ESA and this extends to all breeds of dog.

Moosh - ESA dog with owner
Image by StockSnap on Pixabay: The Fair Housing Act deals with ESA dogs living in rental properties.

Can A Landlord Refuse An Emotional Support Animal Based On Species?

Yes, a landlord can refuse an emotional support animal based on species. An ESA is defined as a small, domesticated animal that is typically kept in a home as a pet. This means that ESA dogs, cats, gerbils, birds, fish, and pot-bellied pigs are OK… But ESA crocodiles, Tasmanian devils, or snow leopards will be refused!

When Should You Tell Your Landlord About Your Emotional Support Dog?

It is best practice to tell your landlord about your emotional support dog at the earliest possible time. They cannot refuse you the lease based on your ESA dog ownership, but they may want to see your ESA letter, and they may need to make some adjustments to the property to accommodate you and your ESA dog.

What Do You Need To Tell Your Landlord About Your ESA?

All you need to do is to show your landlord your ESA letter and tell them what species of ESA you have. You do not have to disclose anything about your mental health condition or medical history.

How Should You Communicate With Your Landlord And Neighbors About Your ESA?

Despite the fact that you are completely entitled under the law to keep an ESA dog at your rental accommodation, it is wise to realize that some landlords and neighbors may be apprehensive about your dog. They may fear that your ESA will be loud, messy, or vicious.

It is best to be empathetic and to communicate openly and compassionately. Life is always better when you have a smooth relationship with your landlord and neighbors. Reassure everybody concerned that your animal is trained and good-natured and that it will cause no hassle in the building.

What Is Good Emotional Support Dog Etiquette?

Of course, it is also crucial that you’re consistently making sure your ESA dog is well-behaved and does not cause any stress to your landlord or neighbors.

This can be achieved by making sure your ESA dog is:

  • Well-trained
  • Clean
  • Relatively quiet
  • Calm and obedient

How Do You Apply For An Emotional Support Animal Letter?

The best way to apply for an ESA letter is to arrange an online consultation with a mental health professional through Moosh. Once you have been verified, a certified letter for your emotional support animal will be sent to you immediately.

Featured image by MeHe on Pixabay