If you have an official emotional support animal (ESA) letter from a licensed mental health practitioner, it's likely that your ESA brings you a huge amount of therapeutic benefit. ESA letters act like medical prescriptions, showing housing providers and other institutions that you qualify for an ESA based on your mental health needs. With so much misinformation around, it can be hard to figure out whether ESA letters expire. In this article, we will explore how long an ESA letter lasts and why keeping it fresh and up-to-date is advisable.
How Long Does an ESA Letter Last? - When to Renew Yours
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ESA Letters Explained: The Basics
Before we explore how long these letters last, let's recap the basics of an ESA letter.
What is an ESA Letter?
An ESA letter is an official medical letter by a licensed medical practitioner in the patient's state. It indicates that the patient has a diagnosed mental health condition that qualifies for the accommodation of an ESA. This letter should include a few things, such as:
- The date of issue
- All patient data
- Medical qualifications and licensing details of the practitioner
- State that they have been treating the patient for a qualifying mental health condition
- Clearly state their recommendation for an ESA after an evaluation.
An ESA letter is hugely beneficial when it comes to housing rights. Under the Fair Housing Act (FHA), landlords cannot discriminate against tenants on the grounds of disability and must make reasonable accommodations to allow them to live with their ESA. Showing landlords an official letter highlights the legitimacy of your case.
Who Qualifies for an ESA Letter?
To qualify for an official ESA letter, patients must have a recognized mental or emotional health disorder diagnosed by a licensed medical practitioner. Mental health conditions might include depression, anxiety, OCD, bipolar disorder, panic disorder, schizophrenia, and post-traumatic stress disorder.
Who Can Write an ESA Letter?
A licensed medical practitioner in the patient's home state can write an ESA. Professions who can write an ESA letter include general practitioners and family doctors, psychiatrists, mental health nurses, licensed therapists, clinical social workers, and clinical psychologists.
How Long Does an ESA Letter Last?
Technically, ESA letters do not expire. However, it is best to keep them up to date and renew them every year in our experience. An up-to-date letter shows that:
- You are taking your mental health seriously and keeping tabs on things with a medical professional.
- Your condition is ongoing, and you currently qualify for an ESA.
- It looks more legitimate to landlords and may result in fewer issues around housing.
Do ESA Letters Expire?
While ESA letters do not technically expire, it's advised to keep them up to date to show the legitimacy of your ESA. A newer letter is beneficial when applying to a new housing provider or if your landlord asks for renewal letters.
Do You Have to Renew an ESA Letter?
While you do not legally have to renew your ESA letter, it can certainly benefit you in terms of applying for housing or stating a case for why you should be allowed to bring your ESA to work.
Can a Landlord Ask for a New ESA Letter?
Yes. Landlords are welcome to ask to see your ESA letter and can check that it is from a reputable, licensed medical practitioner. Increasingly, more landlords are asking for ESA renewal letters.
What to Do If Your ESA Letter is Rejected
If, for some reason, a housing provider rejects your ESA letter, you can do a few things. Firstly, find out exactly why they have rejected it to determine if you have a case. If possible, try to work through the issue with the landlord. If that doesn't work, consult the FHA and understand your rights. If you feel your rights have been violated and are not based on reason, consult the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
There are a few instances where housing providers can reject an ESA, including:
- The animal poses safety concerns to other tenants
- They are too big for the space and could damage the property and lead to financial backlash for the landlord
- The housing building comprises only four units, and one of them is occupied by an owner.
Happily, the ESA process is quick and easy when you follow our steps:
Take Our Assessment
Take a quick, stress-free assessment so we can identify your ESA needs.
Attend a Brief Consultation
We'll connect you with a licensed therapist in your state. During the consultation, they will evaluate your ESA needs. Just chat with them about what your ESA means to you. It's a no-stress, zero-pressure meeting.
Get Your New ESA Letter
Get your ESA letter in 24-48 hours and present it to your housing provider. If for any reason you are not successful in obtaining this, Pettable guarantees 100% money back.
While ESA letters do not legally expire, keeping them up to date and renewing them offers you a better chance of accessing fair housing rights and showcasing the legitimacy of your ESA. Work with the team at Pettable and get a stress-free, no-hassle ESA consultation and letter.