The Case For and Against Emotional Support Animals in Rental Properties

Having a pet has proved to be highly beneficial. Not only for the owners but also the landlords as well. Since it is often difficult to find a rental property where pets are allowed, pet owners are willing to pay an extra fee to accommodate their animals.

However, this also comes with a set of rules governing the number of pets, the sizes, and how they behave on the property’s premises. Policies requiring pets to be leashed in public places and cleaning up after your dog are universal etiquette when you own a pet. You would also be held liable for any damage caused by your pet in your rental house or apartment. 

For landlords and rental agencies, allowing a pet in the houses is a profitable and effective marketing tool. That said, a majority of landlords prefer to keep their properties pet-free to limit any damage. 

Emotional Support Animals Putting Landlords in Difficulty 

As you would guess, afterall, it is your property, and you should be allowed to make the decision. Things are not that simple anymore. According to the Fair Housing Act, landlords are no longer permitted to implement a pet policy if the tenant has a service animal or an emotional support animal. In effect, one cannot refuse accommodations anymore based on their pet policies. 

This compels every rental provider to provide reasonable accommodations to tenants with disabilities, even if they have a no-pet policy. They should not impose a deposit or charge any additional fee for allowing pets. 

Which Animals can be Emotional Support Animals 

The reason to have an emotional support animal is for emotional comfort. Any animal could fall into this category, given that you have a prescribed letter. Those who need an ESA only needs to find a top rated ESA letter provider, who is a licensed practitioner who can evaluate your mental disability and recommend you an emotional support animal/ 

For those struggling with mental challenges such as anxiety, panic attacks, or depression, these animals have proved to be extremely helpful in mitigating the symptoms. If an individual has such a condition that is not apparent, a landlord cannot ask questions regarding their disability. All they can ask is whether they have a disability and what kind of assistance the animal provides. 

Fraudulent ESA Letters

Considering that having an ESA letter can easily open doors for you, there is a rising issue of people taking advantage of the system. Today, it is easier than ever to go online and get an ESA letter even without consulting any healthcare professional. You will get the ESA letter by mail, and it will get you access to pet-free houses and travel on flights with your pet animals. 

To combat the ESA abuses, several states are coming up with newly revised policies. Florida recently changed their law confirming that any document acquired online will not be sufficient by itself to get your pet qualified as an ESA. Moreover, you will also be held liable for any damages caused on the premises or to others. 

While the Fair Housing Act intends to ensure accessibility to disabled people, unfortunately, there is a bad reputation around emotional support animals. This adversely affects anyone with a genuine need. What landlords can do is to be informed of their rights and be aware of how to handle such requests.