When Can A Landlord Legally Reject An ESA?

Reviewed By Kim •  Updated: 10/17/22 •  3 min read
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When Can A Landlord Legally Reject An ESA

Many people require an emotional support animal (ESA) to help them with the stress and anxiety that accompanies many life situations. In some cases, an ESA is necessary to help the person cope with their disability. They may even require their ESA to accompany them day and night in their own living spaces.

ESA Certificate
Do You Qualify For An Emotional Support Animal?

We help people get the proper documentation to make their pet an official Emotional Support Animal. Online approval in minutes - Housing & Travel letters.

But what if you live in a place with a no-pet policy? Can your landlord legally reject your ESA if you do not provide them with documentation from your doctor? In this article, we will discuss the legal definition of an emotional support animal, and provide some insight into the legal requirements for a landlord to accept an ESA.

What is an Emotional Support Animal?

An emotional support animal is an animal that provides the person with emotional support and comfort. They can be used to help with a variety of mental health conditions, including depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and panic attacks. Some people may also require their ESA to provide companionship or to help them cope with other health conditions.

A person who requires an ESA should obtain one from a licensed mental health professional (LMHP). They can adopt an entirely new animal or get an LMHP to draft a letter stating that a pet they already own serves as their ESA.

What is the Fair Housing Act?

Having an emotional support animal means that you can take your pet to places that may even be regularly off-limits for animals. They can accompany you to your favorite coffee shop, or even sit with you at the movie theater. They’re also protected by the Fair Housing federal laws, which says that it is illegal for a landlord to refuse you an ESA based on your disability.

Under the Fair Housing Act, a landlord must try to make reasonable accommodations for a tenant who needs an ESA. This means that they can’t simply deny you a place to live just because you own an ESA. Landlords also are not allowed to charge tenants with pet fees if they own an ESA. This is because emotional support animals are seen as necessary to a person’s wellness, compared to a regular pet.

ESA Certificate
Do You Qualify For An Emotional Support Animal?

We help people get the proper documentation to make their pet an official Emotional Support Animal. Online approval in minutes - Housing & Travel letters.

When Can Your Landlord Deny Your ESA?

The Fair Housing Act says that landlords cannot discriminate against tenants who need an emotional support animal. However, there are many situations where landlords are allowed leeway. A landlord is allowed to deny your ESA if it poses a direct threat to the health or safety of other tenants, as well as other people or animals in the property.

The landlord must also make a reasonable effort to accommodate your ESA before denying it. This means they’re allowed to reject unreasonable requests from your end, such as asking for the most luxurious room in the complex at no extra cost. If your animal is too big to fit in the complex, the landlord can also deny your request. Finally, you have to remember to always own a valid ESA letter, or else a landlord can refuse to acknowledge your pet as a legitimate ESA.

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Kim 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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