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Can a Landlord Refuse Emotional Support Animals Due to Breed, Weight or Size?

Updated on May 11, 2023 by Vincent Maldonado

In the United States mental illness is one of the common concerns between people. According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) nearly one in five people suffer from mental health conditions and are looking for the assistance of an emotional support animal. However, owning an emotional support animal is probably not an issue for those with a home. But it might be challenging for those who are a tenant and looking for reasonable accommodation. A landlord may ask you to provide a legal document proving that your pet is an ESA (emotional support animal), not an ordinary pet, in the form of an ESA Letter.

As we see, many people did not apply for an Emotional Support Animal Letter or are afraid to do so because they think the landlord may refuse their ESA request. But they are unaware that the U.S. Government has passed specific rules and regulations to protect the ESA and its owners.

Can a Landlord Refuse Emotional Support Animals Due to Breed, Weight or Size

The Fair Housing Act and ESAs

The Fair Housing Act was passed in 1968, which protects the Housing Rights of those with mental or emotional health disabilities. The landlords, managers, and owners of buildings are now required to make reasonable accommodations for tenants with certified mental health disabilities. According to the Fair Housing Act (FHA), a landlord has no right to deny your Emotional Support Animal because your ESA is considered a part of your medical treatment, not a pet.

However, if you are looking for a reasonable accommodation or have already selected an apartment, you should have a valid ESA letter.

You must be wondering, what exactly does the term ‘reasonable accommodation’ mean? An Animal Law describes the term ‘reasonable accommodation’ as a modification, exception, or adjustment to a law, policy, practice, or a service. Under this law, the person with a disability has equal access or benefits from a home, including public and everyday use places.

Can A Landlord Refuse An Emotional Support Animal?

Since your ESA is a part of your medical health treatment, a landlord cannot refuse your emotional support animal until you have a valid ESA letter. Emotional Support Animals have no breed, weight, or size restrictions. However, the landlord may refuse your request if they have a valid reason for denying your request to access the accommodation or, in the worst-case scenario, they can file for eviction if your emotional support animal is very disruptive or you are not able to take the necessary precautions to ensure that the ESA does not affect other people living in that building.

Can Landlords Charge Extra Charges or Fees on ESA?

Emotional support animals are not technically considered as pets under the Fair Housing Act. The owners do not have to pay pet fees for living with their ESA. This means that landlords, co-ops, and HOAs cannot impose additional pet fees or deposits on tenants since emotional support animals are not considered normal pets. However, if the ESA causes any damage to the landlord’s property, the ESA owner is responsible for paying for that harm.

What To Do When Your Landlord Does Not Accept Your ESA

When looking for an accommodation it is common to see that landlords and housing providers have a ‘no-pet’ policy in their building. While the majority of tenants are required to abide by this policy, there are some circumstances in which people are permitted to keep animals in buildings that prohibit pets.

As long as the tenant has a valid ESA letter signed by the qualified healthcare professional, landlords must allow emotional support animals. But occasionally, landlords turn down a tenant’s request to live with an ESA.
If the same happens to you, and you believe the landlord discriminates against you, you can seek assistance from the Fair Housing Authority. The discrimination practice can be filed within a year of the date of the discriminatory act, but it is advised that you report it as soon as possible. After the complaint has been filed, the HUD or Fair Housing will either conduct an investigation or refer it to another agency to investigate.

How to Get an ESA Letter For Housing?

A valid ESA Letter can be obtained in various methods, but the letter must be written by a licensed mental health professional (LMHP). The US Department of Housing (HUD) has published standards that define the Licensed Mental Health Professionals as primary care physicians, therapists, counselors, psychiatrists, social workers, etc.

You should ask your doctor to get an ESA letter for housing. You can connect with the Fast ESA Letter if you don’t know about qualified mental health professionals or want an ESA Letter. We can help you connect with a qualified healthcare expert who specializes in providing legitimate ESA letters based on your mental health conditions.

3 step process to get an esa letter

About the Author

Vincent Maldonado
Vincent Maldonado
Vincent Maldonado is a dedicated content manager at Fast ESA Letter. With a strong background in content creation and management, Vincent plays a vital role in curating and overseeing the production of engaging and informative materials related to emotional support animals (ESAs). His passion for promoting mental health and spreading awareness about the benefits of ESAs shines through his work. With a keen eye for detail and a commitment to delivering high-quality content, Vincent ensures that Fast ESA Letter provides valuable resources to individuals seeking information and support in navigating the world of emotional support animals.

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