The first picture that normally comes to mind when somebody hears about assistance animals is that of a dog wearing a red vest guiding a blind person. But, there is a rising trend of emotional support animals. As a Monterey Park landlord, do you need to rent to a tenant with an emotional support animal?
To start with, let’s explore the differences between service animals and emotional support animals. Service animals protected by the Americans with Disabilities Act are those specifically trained to perform tasks, give assistance, or handle work for individuals with disabilities. They also have the ability to recognize and act upon certain medical conditions. An emotional support animal (ESA) helps somebody who requires either emotional or psychological support and is protected by the Federal Fair Housing Act. These animals are characterized by an emotionally supportive and intimate bond with their owner.
To be able to enjoy the benefits of having an ESA, a resident needs to acquire a letter written by a medical professional, like a psychiatrist, psychologist, or licensed clinical social worker, although any medical professional could provide the letter. It must indicate that the animal is necessary, as well as what type of animal the individual has as their ESA. A resident requesting to have more than one ESA must also provide a separate letter for each animal.
The conditions that ESAs usually assist with are post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, depression, fear or phobias, panic disorder or panic attacks, mood disorders, personality disorders, seasonal affective disorder, and social anxiety disorder. However, ESAs aren’t limited to these conditions. Any animal can become an ESA so long as the resident acquires an endorsement letter from a licensed mental health professional. Even current pets can be ESAs if the medical professional can verify that the patient’s current pet is providing crucial mental support to their well-being.
Unlike standard service animals, Emotional Support Animals are not legally required by to have any kind of special training or experience to be permitted to help a person that requires support. Under the Fair Housing Act (FHA), however, they are regarded as a reasonable accommodation for a person with a disability. You as a landlord cannot refuse a verified ESA owner’s request for reasonable accommodation unless you qualify for guidelines set in your state as a resident landlord owner, such as renting out your home’s basement while you live on the main floor. Moreover, you cannot request for an advance deposit or more fees for ESAs unless the ESA owner allows the animal to be troublesome or damage is done to the rental home, much as with any tenant or guest in a rental situation.
The above is a common overview of FHA guidelines for ESAs, but you must check state guidelines too as there could be additional state-specific guidelines on ESAs. Real Property Management Fairmate is well informed about the Fair Housing Act requirements and how they concern you as a Monterey Park landlord. We can aid you in handling these requirements to make sure that you are in compliance when renting to individuals with Emotional Support Animals.
We are pledged to the letter and spirit of U.S. policy for the achievement of equal housing opportunity throughout the Nation. See Equal Housing Opportunity Statement for more information.