Pets offer us unparalleled love and companionship. Their physical presence has been proven to lower stress, reduce blood pressure, and give us healthier and happier routines. Many of us can’t imagine life without our trusty animals, but what exactly do the laws state regarding emotional support animals (ESAs) and housing?
Read our article and learn everything you need about pet rent and emotional support animals.
What is an Emotional Support Animal (ESA)?
Emotional support animals (ESAs) provide great therapeutic benefits and psychiatric relief to owners with mental health conditions. Their presence boosts well-being, and their rights are protected by the Fair Housing Act when they have an official ESA letter. Emotional support animals can be any legal species of animal. Popular ESAs include dogs, cats, rabbits, ferrets, miniature horses, pigs, and reptiles.
Unlike service dogs and psychiatric service dogs (PSDs), ESAs are not protected by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Under the ADA, service animals must be necessitated because of a disability, and they must be individually trained to perform a disability-related task or function. While ESAs support mental health conditions with their presence and companionship, they aren’t always trained to perform specific tasks.
What is an ESA Letter?
An emotional support animal letter is written by a qualified and licensed mental health practitioner in your state. It qualifies as proof that the animal is needed for your emotional well-being. With an ESA letter, landlords must recognize ESAs as assistance animals rather than conventional pets.
Do You Have to Pay Pet Rent for an ESA?
Legally speaking, official ESAs are not regarded as pets and do not have to pay pet rental fees or pet tariffs. This can lead to significant cost savings. Landlords, however, might add a security deposit to the rental. This is a one-off payment and will be paid back if there are no damages once the lease ends.
To qualify as having an ESA, you must have proof from a licensed mental health therapist in your home state. This shows that you qualify for an ESA, and it is much like having a prescription for medication.
The Fair Housing Act (FHA)
The Fair Housing Act (FHA) “prohibits discrimination by providers of housing” on the grounds of race, religion, gender, sexuality, national origin, family status, and disability. Under this legislation, landlords must make “reasonable accommodations” for assistance animals. Under this law, ESAs and service dogs are seen as medical aids rather than conventional pets.
What is Pet Rent?
Pet rent is a monthly rental fee that some landlords add to leases if renters have animals. Pet rental costs essentially cover general wear and tear in the event that the animal damages the home. Pet rent might cover things like dirty carpets, scratched floors, stubborn stains, or chewed furniture (if the home is furnished.)
Some landlords may also charge a one-off pet fee or pet deposit fee on top of monthly rentals.
Is Pet Rent Legal?
Yes. Pet rental and pet deposits are legal if the animals are pets and not assistance animals.
Can a Landlord Deny an ESA?
Generally speaking, a landlord cannot deny you and your emotional support animal housing. An ESA letter can only be denied if your emotional support animal threatens other residents or the property, or causes undue financial burden.
Who Qualifies for an Emotional Support Animal?
Anyone with a qualifying mental health condition qualifies for an ESA. Qualifying conditions include anxiety, depression, social anxiety, OCD, ADHD, bipolar disorder, and panic attacks. A licensed therapist must write an official letter to qualify.
How to Get an ESA Letter with Pettable
If your pet provides you with emotional support you may qualify for an ESA letter. With our simple 3-step process you can speak to a licensed mental health professional in your state and receive an ESA letter in as little as 24 hours.
Complete Our Assessment
Answer our short quiz, and we’ll determine your specific needs. Next, we will connect you to a licensed mental health practitioner in your state.
Consult with a Licensed Mental Health Professional
Meet with your clinician, and if you qualify, you will get your ESA letter within 24-48 hours. If, for some reason, you don’t qualify, you’ll get all your money back. It’s the no-risk solution to getting official ESA documentation.
Present Your ESA Letter to Your Landlord
Once you have received your official ESA letter, you can present it to your landlord. Under the FHA, they must make reasonable accommodations and cannot charge you pet rent.