Home » Exploring Montana HB 703: Navigating Changes in Emotional Support Animal Laws

Exploring Montana HB 703: Navigating Changes in Emotional Support Animal Laws

Updated on April 25, 2024 by Patricia Thompson
Robert Clendenin MD
Medically Reviewed by
Robert Clendenin, MD
In a significant move to address laws about Emotional Support Animals (ESAs), Montana introduced HB 703. It brings both clarity and responsibility to the realm of ESA accommodations.

HB 703 grants landlords to request specific information regarding tenant’s need for an emotional support animal. It also mandates that licensed healthcare professionals provide supplemental information certifying your landlord’s needs.

Additionally, the legislation makes tenant liable for any damages or injuries caused by their emotional support animals.

Montana ESA Law HB 703

The Landlord Rights In HB 703

If a tenant’s need for an ESA related to a disability isn’t immediately apparent, landlords have certain rights under HB 703.

Landlords can request supporting information that reasonably justifies the tenant’s need for the emotional support animal. This supporting information may include details from a healthcare practitioner familiar with the tenant’s disability. The submitted information must have an effective date, license number, and type of professional license.

The legislation also mandates landlords to request proof of compliance with state and local licensure and vaccination requirements for each emotional support animal.

Furthermore, if a tenant seeks approval for more than one emotional support animal, the legislation stipulates that information for each animal must be provided as part of the request process.

These provisions aim to balance accommodating genuine ESA needs and ensuring responsible and well-documented requests within the framework of fair housing regulations.

What Landlord Can Not Ask A Tenant In HB 703?

Under HB 703, a landlord is prohibited from asking a tenant about the specific details of their disability, including the diagnosis or severity. They cannot request any medical records related to the disability. This provision is in place to protect the tenant’s privacy and prevent discrimination based on disability.

However, the tenant can disclose information about their disability if they choose to do so. It empowers tenants to share relevant details on their terms. It also ensures that their privacy is respected while allowing them the flexibility to communicate their needs.

By limiting the landlord’s ability to inquire about specific medical details, HB 703 promotes fair housing practices and prevents discrimination against individuals with disabilities.

What Does HB 703 Say About Liability For Damages Caused By An Emotional Support Animal?

According to Montana HB 703, a tenant with an emotional support animal is liable for any damage caused by the animal. It emphasizes the importance of responsible ownership and the need to ensure that the emotional support animal does not cause harm or damage to the property.

Does HB 703 Affect The Existing ESA Laws In Montana?

HB 703 does not affect existing federal or state laws related to your right to reasonable accommodation and equal access to housing. These include, but are not limited to, the federal Fair Housing Act, the federal Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, and Title 49, chapter 2 of Montana’s state law.

The Need For A 30-Day Client-Provider Relationship.

A healthcare professional must establish a client-provider relationship with the patient for at least 30 days before providing an ESA letter in Montana or any other supporting information requested from a landlord.

During this 30-day period, the healthcare professional will assess your mental health needs and determine the appropriateness of an ESA for your specific situation.

Here, healthcare professional means professional acting within the scope of practice of the person’s license or certificate. This definition underscores the importance of seeking an ESA letter from a qualified and licensed professional to ensure its validity and compliance with regulatory standards.

What Steps Should A Tenant Take To Ensure Responsible Ownership Of An Emotional Support Animal Under HB 703?

ESA owners should ensure that their animals are well-behaved and do not cause damage to the premises or harm to others. Knowing and abiding by the liability provision in HB 703 is essential to promote a positive living environment for all residents.

Additionally, it’s imperative for ESA owners to recognize that responsible ownership goes beyond mere compliance with regulations.

About the Author

Patricia Thompson
Patricia Thompson
Patricia Thompson is a highly skilled clinical psychologist with over five years of expertise in the field. She possesses extensive knowledge and experience in using clinical guidance and providing recommendations for emotional support animals (ESAs) as a form of treatment for mental illness. Patricia's profound understanding of the therapeutic benefits of ESAs enables her to offer valuable insights and practical advice to individuals seeking emotional support. In addition to her clinical practice, Patricia also writes for Fast ESA Letter, sharing her expertise and advocating for the importance of ESAs in mental health care.

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