Emotional Support Animal Housing Laws
You need to know the emotional support animal housing laws if you want your beloved ESA to live with you in a rental property. The government recognizes that ESA’s are very important for people who have certain disabilities and health problems. Because of this, they have passed laws over time which were made to protect emotional support animals and their owners from being discriminated against. There are a few technicalities to the housing laws, but in most cases, you could find that getting a rental property with your animal should be quite easy.
What Are The Emotional Support Animal Housing Laws?
If someone has a legally verifiable disability, they can be recommended to get an ESA by a mental health professional. These animals are for the purpose of companionship, and the presence helps mitigate the symptoms of the person’s disability. The Fair Housing Act was amended to include these types of animals, and it states that they cannot be discriminated against when it comes to rental properties. Even if there is a “no pets” policy enforced for a property, the law requires the landlord to either make an exception or a “reasonable accommodation” to allow the animal to live with its owner.
You also can’t be charged additional fees or a deposit for your pet, even if there would normally be a fee for having a pet if the property was to allow them. You can be charged if it damages the property, though, and the law will consider you to be liable. This means that your ESA could also be evicted if they are aggressive, destructive, or frequently causing a disturbance. A landlord can’t request for your animal to wear any form of a vest, collar, or anything that identifies them as an ESA.
A landlord is also not allowed to ask about the extent of your disability and must accept an answer of what condition you have and the required documentation from a mental health professional. This means that they can’t pry for additional information regarding your limitations and interrogate you about your suffering.
What Are The Exceptions?
While The Fair Housing Act greatly favors the applicant and their pet, there are some parts of the law which don’t require landlords to make an exception or approve an applicant. If there is a building which has four or less units and the landlord lives in one of them, they are not required to approve your application. Single-family housing that gets rented or sold without a broker is also exempt from the Act and there is no requirement for the landlord to approve the application. Motels and Hotels are also not considered to be dwellings and are deemed to be places of the public.
What Happens if The Landlord Doesn’t Comply?
These laws are country wide and are enforced there over, be it Florida, California, Iowa, Texas or anywhere in between. Failure to comply with the laws regarding ESA’s is a violation of federal law, and the landlord or property manager can get into serious trouble if they don’t. Non-compliance means that they are by legal definition; discriminating against a disabled person. The tenant is entitled to sue if in the event of such discrimination and can also report the property manager to the US Justice Department.