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What Does an Emotional Support Animal Letter Include?

An emotional support animal letter is an essential document to certify and confirm your need for an emotional support animal. The ESA letter needs to be written by a licensed mental health professional who can assess your mental health condition and whether you benefit from having an emotional support animal.

Matt Fleming
March 14, 2024
December 8, 2023
8 minute read
Updated By
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December 8, 2023
August 18, 2021
8 minute read
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Discover the essential components of an Emotional Support Animal letter in our comprehensive guide. Learn what information is typically included and how to obtain this vital document for your ESA.

Millions of Americans live with mental and emotional health disorders, experiencing challenges that make every day a challenge. However, an emotional support animal (ESA) could make a world of difference for animal lovers with such difficulties. But if you want to invite an assistance animal, you’ll need an emotional support animal letter. It may seem daunting, but with the right information, you can determine whether you qualify for an ESA and how to get an ESA letter.

Emotional Support Animal Letter

An emotional support animal letter, often prescribed by a licensed mental health professional, confirms an individual's need for an emotional support animal (ESA) due to a mental health condition. This document may be required for housing or travel purposes, providing legal recognition and accommodation for the individual and their ESA.

What is an Emotional Support Animal Letter (ESA Letter)?

To ensure you can have your emotional support animal in your rental home, you’ll benefit from getting an ESA letter. Thanks to the Fair Housing Act (FHA), housing providers are prohibited from discriminating against disabled persons as they apply for housing and throughout their lease. With an ESA letter, not only can you bring your assistance animal with you, but also, your landlord can’t charge you any extra fees or deposits. As long as your ESA behaves, you and your new roommate are completely protected. 

What is On an Emotional Support Animal Letter?

For your ESA letter to be legitimate, first, it must be on the letterhead of a currently licensed mental health professional (LMHP), containing their office information and address, as well as their medical license number. The LMHP will write the letter, validating your mental health disorder and explaining your need for an emotional support animal. With their official signature, your ESA letter is complete!

An example graphic of an ESA letter with the issuing clinician's license information.
A legitimate ESA letter should be issued by a licensed mental health professional and contain their name, license number, and state in which they are licensed.

Things You Should Know About Emotional Support Animal Letters:

They Are Legally Protected

The Fair Housing Act (FHA) is a powerful federal safeguard for disabled individuals as they pursue housing and live in rental homes. The law ensures that housing providers offer reasonable accommodations to disabled renters, including allowing an official ESA to live with them. That’s why you should always have an ESA letter with you when you apply for new housing — to make sure your new landlords know you and your animal have the law behind you.

You May Need to Renew it Yearly

While it’s not specified in the FHA or the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), some states, such as Arkansas, require you to renew your ESA letter annually. Since there’s no mandate for or against requiring renewal, some landlords ask for new certification with every new lease. One way or another, it’s a good idea to renew yours every year.

You Might Need Additional Paperwork

Landlords can’t ask any specific questions about your mental health disorder, but they are allowed to ask for proof of your need for a support animal. If you want to avoid any hassle with housing management, keep an ESA letter on hand just in case. You never know when a landlord is going to make erratic changes or your property will change hands mid-lease.

Why Do I Need an Emotional Support Animal Letter?

Technically, you don’t need an ESA letter to have an emotional support animal, except for some housing renters. If you own your own home, you don’t need to prove anything to anyone — if your ESA gives you comfort from your mental health challenges, that’s good enough. But if you rent, an ESA letter protects you and your assistance animal from being evicted, so it’s better to have it than to be caught without. 

A woman on her bed with her emotional support dog

How Do I Get an Emotional Support Animal Letter?

If you think your mental and emotional health would benefit from having an emotional support animal that will give you much-needed relief, it’s easier than you think to get an ESA letter. The most important part is to consult with a licensed mental health professional (LMHP) to get your mental health evaluated and any disorders diagnosed. At Pettable, we make getting an ESA letter as easy as petting your canine companion.

Who Qualifies for an Emotional Support Animal Letter?

Do you experience persistent anxiety, depression, or other mood disorder symptoms? You probably qualify for an ESA Letter. Qualifying conditions include:

  • Anxiety or panic disorder
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Depression
  • Mood swings
  • Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Phobias
  • Other mental and emotional disorders

Who Can Write an ESA Letter?

When it’s time to have your ESA letter written, you’ll need to consult with a licensed medical provider with a specialty or experience in mental health disorders. While typically a therapist, psychiatrist, or licensed counselor, a general practitioner or nurse practitioner can also write ESA letters. The most important qualification is that they are currently licensed in your state. In some states, you might need to have a 30-day relationship with your LMHP, so it’s always best to check out state ESA laws.

A woman hugging her emotional support cat

Can You Get an ESA Letter Online?

Are you ready to bring an ESA into your home without leaving it, you can get your ESA letter from your computer. With the help of the animal-loving professionals at Pettable, you can get an ESA letter online with ease. Just follow our easy steps and let the experts do the rest and you’ll have an official ESA letter in no time!

How to Get an ESA Letter Online with Pettable

Take Our Brief Assessment

First, take our quick online ESA assessment quiz to determine your eligibility. Not only will we be able to verify your needs, we will connect you with an LMHP certified in your state. Even if you require a 30-day relationship with the provider, we’ll help make the process easy to complete. 

Attend a Virtual Consultation

Next, you’ll join your LMHP for a virtual consultation, where they will ask about your condition and symptoms, diagnose your mental health disorder, and complete your ESA letter. If your state requires you to have a 30-day relationship with your LMHP, we will make sure you don’t have an issue with two consultations

Get Your Emotional Support Animal Letter

Once your consultation is through, we will get your ESA letter to you within 24-48 hours. Not only do we promise a quick turnaround, we also offer a money-back guarantee that your ESA letter will work with your housing provider. Don’t wait any longer — get your ESA letter today!

Meet the author:
Matt Fleming

Matt is a Midwestern-based writer and devoted dog dad, living with a sweet mixed-breed pup named Robin. A life-long dog lover, he had the pleasure of growing up with several German Shepherds, a Cocker Spaniel, and a Black Labrador. He is a full-time editor, as well as a musician and poet, who loves basketball, birdwatching and listening to The Cure and Nick Cave.

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