All you need to know about Emotional Support Animal Laws and Psychiatric Service Dog Laws

Home » Complete Guide to Emotional Support Animal Laws
Blake Quinn
Written By Blake Quinn

July 29, 2022

All you need to know about Emotional Support Animal Laws and Psychiatric Service Dog Laws

Owners of emotional support animals (ESA) and psychiatric service dogs (PSD) are entitled to certain protections under federal law. People who benefit from the companionship of their ESA and PSD will want to make sure that they research the law before looking for accommodations in housing or travel.

Laws for Emotional Support Animals

ESAs alleviate the symptoms of a mental illness, such as severe anxiety, stress, and depression. Many people have found tremendous therapeutic benefits from the companionship of an ESA.

There are two emotional support animal laws. The first is the Fair Housing Act (FHA), and the second is the Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA). These two ESA laws relate to an individual right to have their ESA with them where they live and travel. Let’s talk about both of them in detail:

Fair Housing Act (FHA)

The Fair Housing Act (FHA) is a federal law that prohibits discrimination against tenants with mental or physical disabilities. Under the federal Fair Housing Act (FHA), landlords must reasonably accommodate tenants who own emotional support animals, even if the building has a policy that prohibits pets or other restrictions on pets.

How Does the Fair Housing Act Protect Emotional Support Animal Owners?

ESAs are not considered normal pets under the FHA’s emotional support law, which is why pet policies do not apply to ESAs. That means a landlord is not permitted to charge fees in connection with an ESA, even though fees are applicable for normal pets. The landlord can also not impose breed, color, and weight restrictions on ESAs, even though they may apply to normal pets.

What Are the Rights of ESA Owners Under the Fair Housing Act?

There are several ESA rights associated with emotional support animals that owners have under the FHA. This act applies to all ESAs except for ones that cause a health or safety hazard for anyone else on the property. A landlord must provide reasonable accommodations to the tenant, which include:

  • Right to live with their ESA, even if the buildings prohibit pets
  • Exemption from weight or breed restrictions on pets
  • Exemption from pet-related fees

The owner of the emotional support animal can expect these accommodations from the landlord, and a landlord can not refuse to house because someone has an ESA.

When landlords can deny housing to ESA Owner

The fair housing act protected tenants with an emotional support animal. There are a few circumstances where the ESA rules and regulations do not apply, or a landlord can deny an ESA. The FHA does not apply to:

  • Owner-occupied buildings with no more than four units.
  • The single-family house is sold or rented by the owner without the use of a property dealer.

In these cases, the landlord can deny accommodation to an ESA and refuse housing accommodation for its owner. They could potentially deny an animal that would directly threaten the health and safety of other tenants or would result in significant property damage. They can also refuse if they show that doing so would impose an undue financial and administrative burden.

Emotional support animal laws by state

Although the Fair Housing Act is a federal law that applies throughout the U.S., some states put more ESA laws with the ESA federal law. They try to make their state free from fake ESA letters because, according to data, fake ESA letters are exploding.

California: People who want an ESA letter need to show the treatment time, which needs to be at least 30 days before providing documentation, and must have at least two consultations before qualifying. Moreover, ESA owners can bring their ESA to the workplace where employees are not more than five.

Texas: In Texas, the state law has not changed compared to the ESA federal law. They believe it’s hard to provide reasonable accommodation to the ESA owner without proof. They are more strict on ESA letters because no one can see the mental disabilities of a person.

New York: Besides the ESA letter in New York, landlords can ask to prove whether their ESA is vaccinated or not. However, some emotional support animals may be restricted in new york by the New York Health Department.

ACT ( Air Carrier Access Act )

The Air Carrier Access Act prohibits commercial airlines from discriminating against passengers with mental and physical disabilities. Since 1986, these air travel rules have protected emotional support animals. Unfortunately, in 2021, the Department of Transportation (DOT) implemented new ESA rules and regulations that allowed US airlines to stop recognizing emotional support animals. Almost all airlines have stopped giving services to the ESA, but there are still few airlines that permit ESA. You have to confirm it with the airline before the booking.

That was disappointing news for all ESA owners. But under the latest DOT rules, psychiatric service dogs can continue to board flights free of extra charge. In the next section, we will explore psychiatric service dogs or PSD.

Psychiatric Service Dogs and (ADA) the Americans with Disabilities Act

Psychiatric service dogs are a type of service animal with the same legal rights as service dogs. PSD is well trained to work with people with mental illnesses or learning disabilities. Psychiatric service dogs are different from ESA. People think they are the same, but they are distinguished. PSDs have the same rights as service dogs whereas ESA is not under the ADA. PSDs may also fly on planes free of charge under the DOT’s new rules, which live on January 11th, 2021.

What Is the ADA?

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 provides comprehensive civil rights protections to individuals with mental or physical disabilities in employment, state and local government services, public accommodations, and transportation.

ADA protects service animals and psychiatrist service animals because they are trained to perform directly related to an individual’s disability. There are no size or breed restrictions on them.

Additionally, the ADA clearly states that emotional support animals are on our list because they do not have special training. Providing emotional support is considered a task related to a person’s disability.

Rights of Psychiatric Service Dog Owners by ADA?

Psychiatric service dogs play an essential role in the lives of many individuals with disabilities. Federal law grants certain rights and protections to people with disabilities who use PSD. According to ADA, PSD is allowed accommodation in:

  • Government offices
  • Public places
  • Hospitals
  • Traveling
  • workplace
  • Schools
  • Apartments or housing

Employers must allow their employees to bring their PSD to work. A private business or government office can deny access if their presence can harm other individuals.

How Do You Qualify for an ESA

If you have a mental disability, you may be eligible for an ESA. To qualify for the ESA, you must be certified by a psychologist, therapist, psychiatrist, or other duly licensed mental health professional. This certification should be formally formatted, known as an ESA Letter. The medical illnesses that can qualify for having an ESA are:

  • Schizophrenia
  • Major depressive disorder
  • Bipolar disorder
  • PTSD
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder
  • Learning disorders.
  • Attention Deficit Disorder, also known as ADD.
  • Bipolar disorder.

ESA letter must be on the mental health professional’s letterhead, including license number, license type, date, name of mental illness, and need for ESA. A sample of the ESA letter is available on the official website of Fast ESA Letter.

How Do You Qualify for a PSD

To be eligible for a psychiatric service dog, you must have a mental disability that restricts you from doing one or more major life activities. A PSD must be good at performing tasks that benefit an individual with a debilitating mental, sensory, intellectual, or psychiatric disability. Disabilities that can qualify for a Psychiatric Service Dog include:

  • Clinical depression
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Phobias
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorders
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder
  • Autism

To qualify for the PSD, you need a PSD Letter, which serves as proof of your dog’s official status as a service animal. Applying process for a PSD letter is similar to getting an ESA letter. Additionally, you must ensure that your dog has the proper training as a service animal. Some people train their PSDs themselves, while others hire dog trainers.

How To Get an ESA or PSD Letter

If you think you have a qualifying condition for an emotional support animal or a psychiatric animal, you need to get an official letter from a registered mental health professional. If you are under the care of a doctor, then he can write and sign a letter. However, if you are not under their care or want a fresh start, you can get an official ESA letter or PSD Letter online through Fast ESA Letter.

Steps for getting an ESA Letter

  • Find a therapist or doctor licensed for your state, or you can contact Fast ESA Letter.
  • Schedule your physical or online appointment
  • Have an open discussion with your doctor about your mental health issues and the need for PSA or ESA.
  • Request a signed letter from the therapist as documented proof that you have eligible for an emotional support animal or psychiatrist service dog.

Bottom line:

An ESA or PSD can give better emotional support to an individual with a mental disability. Fortunately, some federal ESA or PSD laws give certain ESA rights to these animals and their owners. If you are qualified for an ESA or PSD but do not have a therapist or are having difficulty finding one. The Fast ESA Letter can help connect you to a licensed mental health professional. We have complete online solutions.

Fast ESA Letter 3 step Application process for Emotional Support Animal Letter

Our Simple 3 Step Process For Your ESA Evaluation

1. Fill up and Submit ESA Evaluation Form Online.

2. Get Evaluated by a Licensed Professional.

3. Get Approved, and Receive Your ESA Letter Instantly via E-mail.

Looking To Apply For An Emotional Support Animal Letter?

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