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What Mission Valley Landlords Need to Know About Emotional Support Animals

A Mission Valley Tenant Moving In to a Rental Home with her Emotional Support AnimalThe first image that generally comes to you when you heed comments about assistance animals is that of a dog wearing a red vest, leading a blind person. But, there is an uphill trend of emotional support animals. Do you as a Mission Valley landlord have to rent to a resident with an emotional support animal?

Before all else, let’s study the variances between service animals and emotional support animals. Service animals secured by the Americans with Disabilities Act, are those that are distinctly trained to give assistance, to do work, or accomplish tasks for persons with disabilities, they also are able to perceive and act upon certain medical conditions. An emotional support animal (ESA) is one that assists somebody who needs either emotional or psychological support and is protected by the Federal Fair Housing Act. These animals are separated by the close, emotional and supportive bond between the animal and their owner.

As a means to enjoy the favors of having an ESA, a resident must get a letter inscribed by a medical professional, such as a psychiatrist, psychologist, or licensed clinical social worker, although any medical professional can create the letter. The letter must specify that the animal is necessary, as well as what kind of animal the individual uses as their ESA. Additionally, a resident requesting to have more than one ESA must have a separate letter for each individual animal.

The most regular conditions that ESAs assist with are post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, depression, fear or phobias, panic disorder or panic attacks, mood disorders, personality disorders, seasonal affective disorder, and social anxiety disorder. However, ESAs are not reserved for these conditions. Any animal can be an ESA as long as the resident has a letter of endorsement from a licensed mental health professional. Even current pets can become ESAs if the medical professional can attest that the patient’s current pet is providing vital mental support to the patient’s well-being.

As opposed to standard service animals, Emotional Support Animals are not asked by law to have any nature of special training or experience to be enabled to help an individual that requires support. However, they are considered a reasonable accommodation for a person with a disability under the Fair Housing Act (FHA). You as a landlord cannot reject a verified ESA owner’s request for reasonable accommodation unless you meet guidelines set in your state as a resident landlord owner such as renting out the basement of your home wherein you live on the main floor. Addedly, you cannot charge a preliminary deposit or increased fees for ESAs with the objection if the ESA owner permits the animal to be an irritation or damage is done to the rental house, much as with any occupant or guest in a rental situation.

In Conclusion

The above is a loose overview of FHA guidelines for ESAs, but you will need to study state guidelines as well as there may be additional state-specific guidelines on ESAs. Realevate Specialists is an expert in the Fair Housing Act requirements and how they relate to you as a Mission Valley landlord. We can assist you in accomplishing these requirements to make certain that you are in compliance when renting to individuals with Emotional Support Animals.

Interested in learning more? Please contact us online or call our Mission Valley office at 858-997-2100 or our Temecula office at 951-461-0100 for more information.

We are pledged to the letter and spirit of U.S. policy for the achievement of equal housing opportunity throughout the Nation. See Equal Housing Opportunity Statement for more information.