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What Mt. Vernon Landlords Need to Know About Emotional Support Animals

A Mt Vernon Tenant Moving In to a Rental Home with her Emotional Support AnimalThe initial picture that usually comes to mind when someone hears mention of assistance animals is that of a dog wearing a red vest leading a blind person. However, there is a rising trend of emotional support animals. As a Mt. Vernon landlord, do you have to rent to someone with an emotional support animal?

To begin with, let’s explore the differences between service animals and emotional support animals. Service animals protected by the Americans with Disabilities Act are those exclusively trained to do work, provide assistance, or handle tasks for persons with disabilities. They can also recognize and act upon certain medical conditions. An emotional support animal (ESA) is one that aids a person who needs either emotional or psychological support and is covered by the Federal Fair Housing Act. They are distinguished by the close, emotional, and supportive relationship between the animal and their owner.

For them to have the benefits of having an ESA, a resident must acquire a letter from a medical professional, like a psychiatrist, psychologist, or licensed clinical social worker, although any medical professional can provide the letter. The letter needs to declare that the animal is necessary, as well as what kind of animal the person has as their ESA. Also, a resident requesting to have more than one ESA must provide a separate letter for each animal.

The most usual conditions that ESAs help 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 restricted to these conditions. As long as the resident has a letter of endorsement from a licensed mental health professional, any animal can become an ESA. Even existing pets can be ESAs if the medical professional can confirm that the patient’s current pet is providing essential mental support to their well-being.

Unlike standard service animals, Emotional Support Animals are not required by law to have any experience or special training to be allowed to assist a person that requires support. Still, they are deemed a reasonable accommodation for people with disabilities under the Fair Housing Act (FHA). As a landlord, you cannot reject a verified ESA owner’s request for reasonable accommodation unless you meet state-specific guidelines as a resident landlord owner, such as renting out your home’s basement while you live on the main floor. Additionally, you cannot require an advance deposit or extra fees for ESAs with the exception that the ESA owner lets the animal become a nuisance or damage is done to the rental home, like with any tenant or guest in a rental situation.

In Conclusion

The above is a general overview of FHA guidelines for ESAs, though you are going need to check state guidelines as well as there could be more state-specific guidelines on ESAs. Real Property Management Results is knowledgeable regarding the Fair Housing Act requirements and how they concern you as a Mt. Vernon landlord. We can help you in navigating these requirements to make certain that you are in compliance when renting to individuals with Emotional Support Animals.

Interested in finding out more about Real Property Management Results? Please contact us online or call us at 812-461-1676 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.

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