Home » The Fair Housing Act: Regulations on Emotional Support Animals.

The Fair Housing Act: Regulations on Emotional Support Animals

Updated on May 15, 2023 by Vincent Maldonado
Living with a disability is not easy! We all know the bitter truth that a disability comes with its own challenges. Out of all those problems, the hardest is facing discrimination. The discrimination by others makes relishing a normal life next to impossible. Similarly, when disabled individuals seek assistance from Emotional Support Animals or Service Animals as some sort of external help, they are also always misunderstood for this. None tries to realize these animals’ roles and how they somehow simplify disabled individuals’ lives. Understanding this, the United States comes up with specific regulations that can somehow make the life of disabled Individuals a little easier. No matter the Disability, whether a physical or a worse mental one, discrimination against either is considered illegal by the Law. Earlier, the Landlords who used to discriminate against disabled individuals and deny their Emotional Support Animal or Service animals requests are now prohibited from doing that. The Fair Housing Act was the Law that put discrimination against disabled Individuals at ease. Keep reading to know more about Fair Housing Act and how it helps halt discrimination against disabled Individuals.
The Fair Housing Act

What is the Fair Housing Act?

Titles VIII under the Civil Rights Act of 1968 is termed Fair Housing Act. This act strictly restricted real estate companies, landlords, and other entities like banks, municipalities, lending institutions, etc., from discriminating. The Fair Housing Act of 1968 prohibited discrimination based on
  • Race
  • Color
  • Religion
  • National Origin.
In 1974, the act also considered discrimination against an individual’s Sex as a legal offense. Federal Fair Housing Amendments Act (FHAA): In 1988, a particular amendment modified the Fair Housing Act to the Federal Fair Housing Amendments Act. The amendment considered it illegal to discriminate against any person based on Disability along with Sex, race, color, national origin, religion, family status, etc. The Disability can be a physical or a mental impairment that limits the person from performing primary life activities. To better understand it, the Law has clarified the primary life activities as hearing, walking, seeing, performing manual tasks, breathing, speaking, learning, working, caring for one’s self, etc. Under the Fair Housing Amendment Act, the following cannot discriminate against disabled individuals renting or purchasing housing authority:
  • Leasing agents
  • Rental managers
  • Financial institutions
  • Building lot owners
  • Real estate agents
  • Individuals selling their home
  • Contractors and developers
Hence, they cannot deny or reject a financially capable individual from purchasing or renting based on their Disability.

How Does the Fair Housing Act Protect Individuals With a Disability?

As per the Federal Fair Housing Amendments Act (FHAA), it is unlawful to; “refuse to make reasonable accommodations in rules, policies, practices, or services, when such accommodations may be necessary to afford a handicapped person equal opportunity to use and enjoy a dwelling unit, including public and common use areas.” Therefore, the housing authorities in no case deny the reasonable accommodation request of a disabled individual if their Disability demands it to enjoy the housing equally just as the non-disabled individuals do. Basically, a “reasonable accommodation” is an exception, change, or adjustment to a particular rule or policy necessary to make for a disabled person. Here, the reasonable accommodation request can be for Assistance animals. They help their disabled owners overcome their disabilities. Assistance Animals can be Service Animals or Emotional Support Animals. Mostly, people get confused with both.

What are Service Animals and Emotional Support Animals?

Service Animals(SA):

Service animals are the animals that are trained to assist their owners with their physical, psychiatric, sensory, intellectual, or other mental Disability. Along with the Fair Housing Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act and the US Air Carrier Access Act protects Service Animals and their disabled owners.

Emotional Support Animals(ESA):

Emotional Support Animals are the animals that help to alleviate the symptoms of mental or emotional Disability of a patient with their love and Support. Unlike Service animals, Emotional Support Animals don’t need the training to act as an ESA. The Federal Fair Housing Act, Section 504 Emotional Support Animal 2021, provides protection for Emotional Support Animals and their disabled owners.

How Does the Federal Fair Housing Act Protect Emotional Support Animals?

The Fair Housing Act Emotional Support Animal protects individuals with ESA. If an animal helps an individual with mental or emotional illness, as per the Fair Housing Act, they can rightly keep their emotional Support Animal in a rental housing Authority. The Emotional Support Animal can be of any breed, size, and weight. Further, these animals don’t need any training to act as Emotional Support Animals. Just with their comfort and Support, they help individuals with mental or emotional illnesses. Protections offered by Fair Housing Laws for Emotional Support Animal owners:

  • Housing authorities cannot impose weight, breed, and size limitations on ESA allowance.
  • Housing authorities cannot Demand any extra fees or security charges on the ESA allowance.
  • Housing authorities cannot Demand ESA to get some sort of training.
  • Housing authorities cannot ask for the medical history or any other related information from the Disabled Individual.
  • Housing authorities have the right to deny an ESA if it causes an “undue financial burden.”

Not only renting apartments, but the college and school dorms are also obliged to allow Emotional Support Animals. Suppose the disabled Individual has the recommendation note called ESA Letter, signed by a licensed mental Health professional claiming that the individual needs an Emotional Support Animal to alleviate symptoms of their mental illness. In that case, the housing authority must allow their emotional support animal under the Emotional Support Animal Federal Laws. The mental health professional that can write an ESA letter is as follows:

  • A licensed psychiatrist
  • A licensed Professional Counselor
  • A Licensed Clinical Social Worker
  • A licensed psychologist
  • A Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist
  • A Licensed Behavioral Therapist
  • A Licensed Cognitive-Behavioral Therapist
  • A licensed doctor qualified to conduct mental health assessments
  • A Licensed Addiction Therapist
  • Any Licensed Mental Health Professional

The mental health professional can write an ESA letter for an Individual whose Disability is suitable to have an Emotional Support Animal. The DSM-V considers the following mental or emotional disabilities eligible to have an Emotional Support Animal:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Sexual disorder
  • Developmental coordination disorder
  • Schizophrenia
  • Panic Attacks
  • ADHD- Attention Deficit Hyperactivity disorder
  • PTSD-Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Acute Stress Disorder
  • Eating Disorders
  • Substance-related disorders (alcohol, drugs)
  • OCD- Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
  • Phobias
  • Learning Disorders
  • Personality Disorders
  • Bipolar Disorder
  • Autism and many more.

To get an ESA letter, apply now on Fast ESA Letter to get evaluated by licensed mental health professionals.

Who is Responsible For Enforcing the Fair Housing Act?

The US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) keeps checking the Fair Housing Act, Section 504 Emotional Support Animal 2022 is followed correctly in every state of the United States. It files a complaint if a person is discriminated against by any of the aspects stated under the Federal Fair Housing Act. Therefore, HUD is the sole body responsible for Fair Housing Act enforcement in the United States. Example of Housing Discrimination or FHA violation: Consider a person-facing panic attack issue and come up with the request to keep a dog with him. Due to his condition, he always needs his dog to calm him down whenever he gets panic attacks. But, the Landlord denies it by stating that the building follows a no-pet property and cannot allow pets. The person also submits a doctor’s recommendation letter for an ESA to the Landlord. Still, the Landlord doesn’t allow the dog in the apartment. In such a case, the HUD will consider it a direct violation of the Fair Housing Act, Section 504 Emotional Support Animal 2020. In the example as such shown above, in such a point, the disabled Individual can;
  • Contact an ESA Lawyer to write a Letter to Landlord
  • File a complaint against the Landlord with the HUD department
  • Hire an advocate for guidance regarding the issue.
The tenant can wait at least ten days after submitting their application for an Emotional Support Animal request. If the Landlord doesn’t revert regarding the application or denies it without any valid reason, the person can take action as stated above.


To provide equality to every Citizen of the United States, the Fair Housing Act was passed a long time ago. As time changed, the government made certain amendments from time to time to upgrade the scope of this law and aimed to halt every type of Discrimination in the country. Discrimination based on disability has always been a significant concern. Therefore, the Federal Fair Housing Act ensures that the housing authority would approve reasonable accommodation for disabled Individuals. Whether the request is for a Service Animal or an Emotional Support Animal, they must allow them so disabled individuals can relish the dwelling unit as a non-disabled individual.

If you are a disabled person and your building doesn’t allow pets. There is no need to worry as the building authorities have to let your Emotional Support Animal keep with you as per the Fair Housing Act. To prove that you genuinely have a mental illness and that your ESA is part of your mental illness treatment plan, you must get an ESA letter.

Fast ESA Letter can help you with this, as we provide ESA letter service in every state of the United States. You just need to fill out a simple online form, and if your illness qualifies, you will receive your ESA letter signed by a licensed mental health professional in no time.

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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