Renters need to know what their rights are when keeping an emotional support pet in their rented property. They also need to know how to communicate effectively and constructively with their landlord about their ESA.
Emotional support animal owners who rent are protected by the Fair Housing Act. But it is not only legal protection that is important when it comes to your experience as a renter. Having a friendly, productive, and mutually beneficial relationship with your landlord is also important. A smooth relationship with your landlord will make your life easier and more hassle-free.
People have plenty of questions about being a renter with an ESA. Do I have to tell my landlord about my ESA? How much do I have to tell my landlord about my ESA? What can a landlord ask about an emotional support animal? Can my landlord charge me for an emotional support animal? What are my rights under the Fair Housing Act? How can I best communicate with my landlord about my ESA?
Below, we will answer all of these important questions.
What Is The Fair Housing Act?
The Fair Housing Act protects people from discrimination based on race, religion, sex, national origin, familial status, or disability when renting or buying property. Under the Fair Housing Act, emotions support pets and service animals are allowed to live with their owner in rented accommodation even if the accommodation usually has a “No Pets Allowed” policy.
What Are An ESA Owner’s Rights Under The Fair Housing Act?
Emotional support animals are defined as small, domesticated pets. Under the FHA, an emotional support animal owner is entitled to keep their ESA in a residence that usually has a “No Pets” policy. Landlords must make a “reasonable accommodation” for animals that are necessary as a treatment or aid for somebody with a physical or mental disability.
Do I Have To Tell My Landlord About My Emotional Support Animal?
It is highly advisable that you tell your landlord about your ESA. Landlords are required to allow you to keep your ESA if you need to, but there are still several considerations they will need to make. So, in the interest of full disclosure and an open and honest relationship with your landlord, you should show your ESA letter as early as possible.
How Much Do I Have To Tell My Landlord About My ESA?
You do not need to give your landlord any information about your specific diagnosis. All that matters is that you have been prescribed an emotional support animal, and your ESA letter will be enough to verify this.
You should tell your landlord what type of animal your ESA is. ESAs are defined as small, domesticated animals that are typically found in homes, but they do not need any special training. So a dog, cat, rodent, bird, fish, or even a pot-bellied pig can make a suitable ESA.
Can My Landlord Charge Me Extra For An Emotional Support Animal?
No, landlords are not allowed to charge extra rent or a pet security deposit for an emotional support animal.
Considerations When Choosing An ESA
Even though as an ESA owner you are well protected under the law, it is always best to be considerate. Your landlord, as well as your neighbors, deserve the right to live in peace just as much as you deserve the right to access your preferred form of therapy free from discrimination.
Choosing to keep a dangerous, noisy, or hard-to-train breed of ESA in a rented space can cause disruption and hassle. This can lead to complaints and even to laws being changed down the line. So always be considerate and choose a suitable emotional support pet when living in rented accommodation.
Common Questions Landlords Might Ask About ESAs
It is a good idea to be prepared before you have a conversation with your landlord about keeping an emotional support pet in their property. Some landlords may have worries about an ESA living in their building. While what a landlord can ask you is limited under the Fair Housing Act, it is advisable to answer any questions that they have that are not invasions of your privacy.
Some of the most common questions landlords ask about ESAs are:
- Do you have an ESA letter?
- What species of animal is the ESA?
- Is the ESA trained?
- How large is the ESA?
- Are there any reasonable accommodations that need to be provided for the ESA?
Talking To Your Landlord About Your Emotional Support Animal
It is in everybody’s best interests that you and your landlord have a civil, productive, mutually beneficial relationship. So it is highly advisable that you are open and honest with your landlord as well as empathetic and understanding of their concerns.
Make an effort to see the situation from your landlord’s perspective and be sympathetic to any worries they may have. Put their mind at ease by showing that you are a responsible ESA owner, that your pet is well-behaved, and that you want to work with your landlord and neighbors to create a living situation that benefits all concerned.
How To Apply For An Emotional Support Animal Letter
To apply for an ESA letter, arrange a consultation with a registered, state-licensed mental health professional through Moosh. Once you have been examined and your mental health condition verified, you will be sent a certified letter for your emotional support animal.