ESA Letter Sample - What a Legitimate ESA Letter Looks Like

Author
April Brightman
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·
September 19, 2023
August 3, 2023
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8 minute read
Updated By
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Expert Reviewed By:
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Author
April Brightman
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at
·
August 3, 2023
·
8 minute read
Updated By
·
Expert Reviewed By:
-
at
It’s important to know what a legitimate ESA letter looks like to ensure you don’t fall victim to illegitimate providers. Learn the facts with Pettable.

Emotional support animals are an essential support system for individuals with disabilities. To make sure your rights around emotional support animals are protected, an ESA letter is key. Whether you need an ESA letter for housing, transportation, or to avoid pricey pet fees, it’s important to know what a legitimate ESA letter looks like.

What is an Emotional Support Animal?

Emotional support animals (ESAs) are a type of assistance animal that supports individuals with disabilities. They provide companionship and comfort to their owners, and their presence helps to alleviate one or more symptoms associated with a person’s disability. No matter how much you love them or how necessary they are for your well-being, pets don’t qualify as emotional support animals and aren’t protected under housing, transportation, and public regulations.

What do Emotional Support Animals Do?

Emotional support animals can provide an essential service to their owners simply by being there. Unlike psychiatric service animals, emotional support animals aren’t necessarily trained to perform specific tasks that support their owner’s disability. There are several reasons to get an emotional support animal. In general, their presence provides comfort and can help alleviate symptoms associated with disabilities like loneliness, depression, anxiety, and some phobias. This is the main difference between emotional support animals and service animals

What is an ESA Letter?

An emotional support animal letter (ESA letter) is like a prescription. The letter is legal documentation of a health professional’s recommendation for an emotional support animal. Emotional support animal letters are written individually and focus on their specific disability and need for an ESA.

What Does an ESA Letter Look Like?

To be legitimate, an ESA letter has to include a few things. It has to be written by a licensed health professional on official letterhead and include their license number. It must include contact information for the health professional providing the letter in case it needs to be verified. An ESA letter should also include specific language about your need for an emotional support animal.

A sample of an esa letter on a licensed mental health professional's letterhead.

What Should Be on an ESA Letter?

An emotional support animal letter should include a few things. The first thing that should be on an ESA letter is a statement that you have a disability that qualifies for an emotional support animal. Confidentiality laws will protect you here, and details about your specific disability need not be included. ESA letters should include a direct recommendation for an emotional support animal and specifically state that an ESA would benefit your disability.

Who Can Write an ESA Letter?

Those who can write an emotional support animal letter must be licensed health professionals, but don’t necessarily have to be a medical doctor. As well as an MD, a health professional can be a nurse practitioner, mental health counselor, psychotherapist, or psychiatrist.

Who Qualifies for an Emotional Support Animal?

In order for someone to get an emotional support animal, they must legally qualify. This means the existence of a mental health condition or psychiatric disability has to be verified by a health professional and documented in the ESA letter. The letter doesn’t have to (and shouldn’t) include details about your specific disability or how your emotional support animal benefits you. It simply has to state that your disability qualifies and an emotional support animal is recommended for you.

Emotional support animals provide comfort through companionship and don’t have to do anything special to be a big help to their handlers’ needs/Conditions or disabilities that qualify for emotional support animals can include but aren’t limited it anxiety, autism, bipolar disorder, chronic stress, depression, or post-traumatic stress disorder.

Emotional Support Animals Under the Fair Housing Act

The Fair Housing Act (FHA) defines assistance animals as those who provide support or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability, including emotional support animals who help to alleviate symptoms of mental health conditions or emotional disabilities.

Emotional support animals are protected under the FHA just like service animals. This means that ESAs aren’t considered pets but rather medical tools necessary for an individual to manage their disability. Since ESAs aren’t pets, they’re exempt from building policies that don’t allow pets, pet fees, and restrictions on breed or size.

In most cases, landlords and housing complexes have to honor a reasonable request for accommodation of an assistance animal, but there are a few instances in which an assistance animal can be denied. Landlords can deny emotional support animals if the ESA letter provided isn’t legitimate, or if the animal poses a threat to the health or safety of other tenants on the property.

To get an ESA letter for housing, make sure your health professional uses the specific language necessary to guarantee you and your emotional support animal need to qualify and be protected under fair housing laws. Your ESA letter must state that you have a qualifying disability and that an emotional support animal is part of your treatment plan.

How to Get an ESA Letter with Pettable

Getting an ESA letter with Pettable is a seamless process. We work closely with licensed health professionals to ensure you qualify for an emotional support animal and get the necessary documentation to protect your access to them. For housing, travel, or 

Take Our Assessment

Pettable’s online assessment is short and sweet and helps us determine whether you qualify for an emotional support animal. On average it takes about three minutes to complete, and helps us start the process of helping you legally certify your emotional support animal and enjoy the benefits of the protections provided.

Attend a Brief Consultation

Once you’ve completed our assessment, we’ll use the information to match you with a health professional to provide your online consultation. Pettable works with licensed health professionals in all 50 states, so wherever you live we’ll be able to match you with someone who can provide you with a legitimate ESA letter in your area.

Get Your Legitimate ESA Letter

After meeting with one of our licensed health professionals, you’ll receive your legitimate ESA letter from Pettable and a 100% satisfaction guarantee. We promise the ESA letters our professionals provide will meet your needs for housing, travel, or public access or your money back. Get started with Pettable today and complete the brief process to protect you and your emotional support companion with a legal, legitimate ESA letter.

Meet the author:
April Brightman
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April Brightman is a freelance writer and outdoor enthusiast with a passion for traveling and hiking with her rescue pup, Marley. She's written for pet-centered sites like Outward Hound, as well as outdoorsy adventure brands like BearVault, Hipcamp, and Explorer Chick.

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