An emotional support animal is a pet which provides emotional support to the owner, for example, by alleviating anxiety or depression. Emotional support animals have gained popularity in recent years and there are many people who benefit from owning them. Emotional support animals can help people by giving them a sense of comfort and companionship, as well as a sense of self-esteem.
But some people truly need to have their emotional support animal near them at all times, including at home. So what do you do if you’re trying to rent a place while you own an emotional support animal? This article will help you understand the rules and regulations of renting with an ESA.
What to Prepare Before Renting a Place When You Own an ESA
Emotional support animals and their owners are protected under the federal Fair Housing laws. Essentially, these laws protect the rights of people with disabilities to live in places that are equally accessible to other people.
Still, however, you can’t simply take a pet that you consider your emotional support animal anywhere and expect people to comply. You need to also follow the rules and regulations of renting a place while owning an emotional support animal. Here are some things you should consider:
1. Get Prescribed With an ESA Letter
The first thing you need to do is get a letter from your doctor stating that you need the emotional support animal for your disability. This letter should include the reason why you need the ESA and the type of assistance it will provide. The letter should also state that you have a valid disability that therefore requires the animal to help you handle.
An ESA letter can only be prescribed by a licensed mental health professional (LMHP). It cannot be given by anyone else, such as a family member or friend. The letter must be signed by the health care professional and the patient, and you must keep it in a safe place in case you need to show it to someone while trying to get access to a place that is usually off-limits for animals.
2. Inform Your Landlord Ahead of Time
It’s a good idea to notify your landlord before moving in with an ESA, as this will give them enough time to make any necessary changes in their property to ensure it is completely accessible to people with disabilities.
However, they are allowed to ask for proof that your pet is an ESA and not just a regular pet. Letting them know in advance will also help you maintain a good relationship with your landlord, and possibly avoid future problems.
3. Teach Your ESA Appropriate Behavior
Although landlords can’t discriminate against ESA owners based on their disabilities, there are situations where they can deny your ESA access. If your animal is particularly aggressive or not well-behaved, your landlord may refuse to let your animal stay at your place. This is because your emotional support animal can be seen as a possible threat for the landlord and other tenants.
KyokoKyoko is from a family of 3 and moved to New York with her parents and siblings when she was 13. Kyoko is fond of spending a great amount of time with pets, specifically her beagle Luna and cat Missy. Her boyfriend often complains that she spends too much time giving attention to their animals. Kyoko has written dozens of articles concerning pets and is aiming at owning a pet shop one day!
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