Emotional support animals (ESAs) are defined as animals that provide a therapeutic benefit to their owners. While most people believe that only dogs and cats qualify as ESAs, in fact many other animals are qualified to be ESAs. If you have been diagnosed with a mental illness, such as depression or anxiety, you may qualify for an ESA letter.
An emotional support animal can help a person who has a mental illness such as depression or anxiety. These animals provide companionship and support for their owners, helping them to feel better. ESAs can also be used to help a person with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). But what happens when you want to move into a new place and you own an ESA?
Housing Rights for an ESA
ESAs are considered “support animals” under the Fair Housing Act. This means that you are allowed to have an ESA in your home. This applies even if your complex or unit normally operates under a no-pet policy. This is because emotional support animals are deemed necessary for some disabled people to continue living comfortably.
Landlords are not allowed to deny you the right to live with an ESA in your home. However, some landlords may have specific restrictions on the types of animals that they allow in their buildings. If this is the case, it is best to check with your landlord or property manager before bringing your ESA into your new home.
Usually, you’d need to provide an ESA letter to prove that your pet is an emotional support animal, and that your condition requires you to have them. It is best to show your landlord this letter before you sign the lease. Although that’s not a requirement, it’s a good way to maintain a strong relationship with your landlord. Otherwise, they may feel as if you’re trying to sneak around the rules.
How to Get an ESA Letter
You can get an ESA letter from your doctor, therapist, or psychiatrist. You can choose whichever provider you prefer, so long as they’re considered a licensed mental health professional (LMHP). This letter should state that you have a disability or an illness and that your pet is required to help you cope with it. The letter should also say that your pet is required for reasons of safety and that your emotional support animal helps reduce the symptoms of your condition.
Your landlord may ask you for this letter before accepting you as a tenant, but it’s not always the case. Still, it’s good to have a copy of the ESA letter around should they ask for it. Furthermore, you should take into account the fact that a single letter is only valid for a year. After that time passes, you would need to have the letter renewed.
Once you have the ESA letter, you can bring your emotional support animal into your new home. You should make sure that your animal can remain well-behaved and that they don’t cause any problems. If your animal poses a threat to the landlord and the other tenants, your landlord is within their rights to deny you and your ESA access.
KimKim is a talented author, who loves animals especially dogs. She engaged in writing books and articles relating to animals a decade ago. Kim resides in Chicago with her husband and son. The family is the proud owner of a dog and a parrot (Jack and Lily). Kim wanted more than these two pets, but her husband put his foot down... She often visits elementary schools to talk to the kids about what she learned about pets and how they could learn from them.
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