Emotional support animals (ESAs) can transform the lives of many people living with mental disorders or emotional struggles, helping to enhance their day-to-day and console them through hard times. However, ESAs aren’t subject to many of the same protections as physical and psychiatric support dogs (PSDs), which may deter individuals from bringing one into their lives. That leaves one pressing question: can you have an ESA in a “no pet” apartment?
Can You Have an ESA in a No Pet Apartment?
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What is an Emotional Support Animal (ESA)?
An emotional support animal (ESA) is a domestic animal that gives emotional support to someone struggling with one or more emotional or mental disorders. It can provide vital affection and companionship, improving their human’s mental health and overall life. While service dogs are trained to perform specific tasks for their owners, ESAs provide general emotional care through their sheer presence and attention. However, an ESA is considered a pet rather than a working animal, so their protections differ from service animals.
What is an ESA Letter?
To make your pet an official emotional support companion, you’ll need to acquire an ESA letter from a medical professional. This letter certifies that you have a valid need for such a support animal to improve your mental and emotional health. With this official recognition, you are guaranteed certain rights when it comes to keeping your ESA in your home and bringing them into hotels and other lodging. It can also allow your animal to accompany you on air travel, in some cases.
Can You Have an ESA in a No-Pet Apartment?
One of the most important protections an ESA letter can give you is the guarantee against discrimination for someone with a mental health disorder in housing or lodging. The official letter proves to landlords, managers, and other housing supervisors that an individual needs an ESA. Even if an apartment or complex has a “no pet” policy, federal law dictates that landlords must provide reasonable accommodations to anyone with a legitimate ESA letter for housing.
The Fair Housing Act (FHA)
The Fair Housing Act (FHA) is the most significant law protecting individuals with disabilities in their domestic lives and many travel situations. For apartment dwellers, the FHA prohibits discrimination against tenants and mandates that their ESA may live with them — as long as they have a legitimate ESA letter.
Are No Pet Policies Legal?
For better or worse, “no pet” policies are completely legal for lease and rental agreements in housing and for lodgings such as hotels and Airbnbs. When a tenant violates a no-pet policy, the landlord is permitted to terminate the agreement at their discretion. This is why it’s so important to get an ESA letter for your housing before signing a new lease or agreement with your landlord or housing company.
Can a Landlord Deny an ESA?
Thanks to the FHA, landlords and apartment complexes are not allowed to deny housing to individuals with an ESA letter for their supportive animal companion — in most cases. If your animal companion poses a threat to others in your housing community, they may be denied without penalty. This also applies if the ESA causes excessive damage to the apartment or financial hardship to the landlord, or if the animal is too large for the living space or complex. They may also deny anyone with a fake ESA letter.
Who Qualifies for an Emotional Support Animal?
Several conditions qualify an individual for an ESA — even more than qualify for a PSD. If you are living with any of these conditions, you could qualify for an emotional support animal in your home:
- Mental Health Disorders
- Mood Disorders
- Learning Disabilities
- Substance Use Disorders
- Cognitive Disorders
- Motor Skill Disorders
How to Get an ESA Letter with Pettable
With our commitment to improving the lives of anyone who could benefit from a service animal, Pettable makes it easy to get an ESA letter. Just follow these steps and you’ll be able to bring an ESA into your home.
Complete Our Assessment
First, take our simple ESA assessment — by answering a few questions, we will determine if an ESA fits your needs and make any pertinent recommendations. You can start the process whether you already have an animal you want to make your ESA or if you’re still unsure which animal fits your lifestyle and will enhance your conditions.
Consult with a Licensed Mental Health Professional
Next, you will attend an online consultation with an expert licensed mental health professional (LMPH) working with Pettable. They will assess your situation, diagnose you with your mental or emotional disorder, and write you an official ESA letter.
Present Your ESA Letter to Your Landlord
Once you have your legitimate ESA letter from Pettable, present it to your landlord and make any necessary arrangements. Remember, communication is essential when securing housing, so be open with your housing manager and they will be more likely to welcome your support animal with open arms. Contact Pettable to get started today!