Landlords & Emotional Support Animals (ESAs) 

Landlords & Emotional Support Animals (ESAs) 

There is a common misconception when it comes to comparing Emotional Support Animals to service dogs.  These two designations are often used interchangeably, but both have different criteria when it comes to human rights and privileges.  Service dogs can be in public places with their owners so that they can perform their jobs and/or tasks.  Emotional Support Animals are not allowed in any public places except for airports and parks.  This leads to the concern of Emotional Support Animals being denied by landlords.  This article will go into further detail about the rights that humans have with these types of dogs.

Foremost, it is important to know why someone would need an Emotional Support Animal:

  • Learning disabilities
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Attention deficit disorder (ADD)
  • phobias

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) does not consider Emotional Support Animals to be the same as the “average” pet.  This means that ESAs cannot be discriminated against based on their size or breed.  Another thing is that owners are not subject to paying additional fees for their ESAs to live with them.

Tenants will need to have an approved ESA letter as proof of documentation to your landlord.  The letter will normally include your mental health professional’s contact information.  This letter will provide proof that you have a disability.  Keep in mind that your landlord is not allowed to ask you for more information about your disability.  If your landlord rejects your Emotional Support Animal, you should ask for a formal letter of rejection.  From there, you can file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Even though ESAs are not the same as service dogs, they are permitted with you on an airplane and can live with you even if your housing development has a strict “no pet” policy.  This is because the Americans with Disabilities Act does not consider an ESA to be a pet, and so ESAs are not subject to rules against pets.