Fact checked

How to Get a Refund on Pet Deposit for Emotional Support Animals

To get a refund on pet deposit for emotional support animals you'll first need to obtain a legitimate ESA letter. Once you have your ESA letter, present it to your landlord and request a refund on your pet deposit, as ESAs are technically not pets.

April Brightman
January 12, 2024
June 7, 2023
5 minutes
Updated By
Expert Reviewed By:
Grant FiddesGrant Fiddes
SEO Associate
June 7, 2023
August 29, 2023
5 minutes
Updated By
Emotional support animals are classified as assistance animals and are exempt from pet deposits. Learn more about ESA laws and how to get an ESA letter.

If you have an emotional support animal (ESA) and are moving into a new rental property, you may be wondering about the pet deposit and whether you can get it refunded. Understanding your rights and the legal protections surrounding ESAs is essential for navigating this process. In this article, we will guide you through the steps to obtain a refund on your pet deposit, providing valuable insights on the necessary documentation, communication with your landlord, and applicable laws. Discover how to successfully navigate the refund process and ensure your rights as an ESA owner are upheld.

Pet Deposit for Emotional Support Animals

Pet deposits for emotional support animals are typically not required under the Fair Housing Act. However, landlords may request reasonable accommodation fees or additional rent. It's crucial to communicate with your landlord and provide proper documentation, such as an ESA letter, to ensure a smooth process. Remember to familiarize yourself with your local laws and regulations regarding ESAs to protect your rights and responsibilities as a tenant.

What is an Emotional Support Animal (ESA)?

Emotional support animals or ESAs provide companionship, comfort, and emotional support for individuals with mental health or emotional disabilities. Their presence and friendship can greatly help alleviate symptoms experienced by those with certain conditions such as anxiety, depression, certain phobias, or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

ESAs can be any type of animal that is legal to own, from cats and dogs to birds, reptiles, and rodents. Emotional support animal laws differ from psychiatric service animal laws, meaning the same rules don’t always apply. 

How to Get a Refund on Pet Deposit for an Emotional Support Animal

You may be entitled to a refund for an emotional support animal if you had to pay a pet deposit or you’ve been paying a monthly pet fee where you rent. Emotional support animals are protected under the Fair Housing Act, and landlords aren’t allowed to charge tenants additional fees for assistance animals. Here’s how to get your pet deposit refund if you have an ESA.

Get a Legitimate ESA Letter

Getting a legitimate emotional support animal letter (ESA letter) is the first step toward a refund of pet deposits. An ESA letter is a legal document that certifies your need for an emotional support animal. It has to be provided by a licensed health professional, such as a doctor, therapist, psychiatrist, or social worker.

Present the ESA Letter to Your Landlord

When presenting your ESA letter to your landlord, it’s best to do so in a documented way. Provide a copy of your ESA letter along with a letter from you stating that you have a disability that requires an emotional support animal. In the letter also mention that you are requesting a refund for pet deposits or fees since assistance animals (including ESAs) are not considered pets, but essential tools for managing disabilities.

Know Your Rights

To best advocate for yourself and your emotional support animal, you should know your rights. Review the legal protections for those with disabilities or mental health conditions under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Fair Housing Act (FHA).

The Fair Housing Act and Assistance Animals

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

Can Landlords Charge Pet Fees for an ESA?

No, landlords can’t charge pet fees for an emotional support animal. Under the Fair Housing Act (FHA) assistance animals, including service animals and emotional support animals, are not considered pets, but rather medical tools necessary for managing a disability. This means they can’t be subject to pet security deposits or pet fees. 

Can a Landlord Deny an ESA?

As long as you have a valid Emotional Support Animal Letter, a landlord cannot legally deny you housing because you have an ESA. Since they’re not considered pets under the FHA, emotional support animals are exempt from pet policies that them from living in certain buildings or from rules about breed or size.

Landlords can only deny emotional support animals if the ESA letter isn’t legitimate, or if the animal poses a risk to the health and safety of other tenants or to the property.

What to do if a Landlord Denies Your ESA

If a landlord denies your emotional support animal be sure to ask them for specific reasons why. If possible, work with the landlord to address their concerns and attempt to find a solution. Make sure your ESA letter is up to date and meets legal guidelines.

If you’re still unable to come to an agreement with the landlord and you feel your rights are being violated, you can file a complaint with the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). This should be your last resort, and complaints have to be filed within six months of the violation occurring.

Get a Legitimate ESA Letter for Housing with Pettable

An Emotional Support Animal Letter for housing from Pettable meets legal guidelines and serves as proof that your ESA is both necessary and legitimate. We make it easy to get your ESA letter in just a few simple steps.

Complete our Assessment

Start by completing Pettable’s 3-minute assessment to help us create your custom profile and determine your specific needs. We’ll match you with a licensed health professional to be on your way to your ESA letter.

Consult with a Licensed Mental Health Professional

After completing our assessment, Pettable will match you with an experienced mental health professional in your state. You’ll meet with them to go over crucial details and go over the requirements to make sure your ESA letter meets your needs for housing, travel, or public outings.

Receive Your ESA Letter

Once you’ve met with one of our expert clinicians, you’ll be ready to receive your legitimate Emotional Support Animal Letter. Pettable’s experts know exactly what’s required to be sure your ESA letter is valid legally and medically to make sure your rights to an assistance animal are documented and adhered to.

Meet the author:
April Brightman

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.

See Archive