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What Vernal Landlords Need to Know About Emotional Support Animals

A Vernal Tenant Moving In to a Rental Home with her Emotional Support AnimalWhen one talks about assistance animals, the initial image that normally comes to mind is that of a dog in a red vest leading a blind person. But, there is a mounting trend of emotional support animals. Do you as a Vernal landlord need to rent to a person with an emotional support animal?

First and foremost, let’s observe the differences between service animals and emotional support animals. Service animals protected by the Americans with Disabilities Act are those trained specifically to offer assistance, do work, or handle responsibilities for people with disabilities. They can identify and act upon certain medical conditions too. An emotional support animal (ESA) is one that helps anybody who needs either emotional or psychological support and is covered by the Federal Fair Housing Act. They are characterized by the intimate, emotional, and supportive relationship between the animal and their owner.

A resident needs to secure a letter written by any medical professional, such as a psychiatrist, psychologist, or licensed clinical social worker, to be able to enjoy the benefits of having an ESA. The letter must identify the animal as necessary, as well as the kind of animal the person has as their ESA. Furthermore, a resident requesting to have more than one ESA should provide a separate letter for every animal.

The most common conditions that ESAs aid 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. But, ESAs are not restricted to these conditions. Any animal can be an ESA so long as they are supported by a letter of endorsement from a licensed mental health professional. Even current pets can become ESAs if the medical professional can verify that the patient’s current pet is giving vital mental support to their well-being.

Unlike standard service animals, Emotional Support Animals are not legally required to have any experience or special training to be allowed to help a person that needs support. However, they are considered a reasonable accommodation for an individual with a disability under the Fair Housing Act (FHA). You as a landlord cannot decline 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 your property’s basement while you stay on the main floor. Moreover, you cannot ask for an advance deposit or additional fees for ESAs with the exception that the ESA owner allows the animal to become a nuisance or the rental property is damaged, much as with any occupant or guest in a rental situation.

In Conclusion

The above is a general summary of FHA guidelines for ESAs, although you will have to look at state guidelines as well because there might be additional state-specific guidelines on ESAs. Real Property Management Uintah knows the Fair Housing Act requirements and how they apply to you as a Vernal landlord. We can help you deal with these requirements to make sure that you are in compliance when renting to people with emotional support animals.

Interested in learning more? For more information, please contact us online or call us at 435-214-4686.

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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