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Emotional Support Animals Guidelines for Vernal Rental Property Owners

Vernal Tenant Petting Their Emotional Support DogVernal landlords are indeed responsible for bestowing reasonable accommodation for tenants with disabilities. This includes permitting emotional support animals in rental properties. Regretfully, several landlords are unaware of their legal obligations or try to do things to stave them off. This blog post will discuss some guidelines for rental property owners concerning emotional support animals. We will supplementarily mention here the ramifications of not implementing the law.

Defining Emotional Support Animals

The first thing to grasp well is that emotional support animals are not the same as service animals. Service animals are trained to perform tasks for people with disabilities, the same as guiding them around obstacles or helping them with daily tasks. On the other hand, emotional support animals impart companionship and emotional comfort. They do not need to have any special training. They are not considered pets, so breed and size restrictions do not apply.

Emotional Support Animals and the Law

Under the Fair Housing Act (FHA), landlords must provide reasonable accommodation for tenants with disabilities. This takes in allowing emotional support animals in rental properties, even if your property is deemed  as “pet-free.” Property owners are not permitted to charge additional pet deposits or higher rent if a tenant expresses the desire to keep an emotional support animal on the property.

There are however some exceptions to this rule, to cite an instance if the animal is a danger to other tenants or if it causes considerable damage to the property. These exceptions are rare and should not be used as an excuse to decline a tenant’s request to have an emotional support animal.

Handling Tenant Requests for Emotional Support Animals

To qualify a tenant for an emotional support animal, you can require your tenant to provide a letter from a health professional. This letter should clearly state that the tenant has a mental or emotional disability, and the animal provides therapeutic benefits. But certainly, however, it is illegal for a property owner to ask a tenant to provide specific details about or even documentation of their disability.

Conversely, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) states that a property owner must determine whether to grant their tenant’s request for an emotional support animal solely on the recommendation of a health care professional.

Consequences for Not Following the Law

Let’s say a Vernal property manager says no to a tenant’s request for an emotional support animal or tries to charge them additional fees. If so, the tenant can file a complaint with the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). HUD will investigate the complaint, and if they learn and confirm that the property manager has violated the law, they can impose penalties. These can encompass civil fines, damages to the tenant, and even a court order demanding the property manager to permit the emotional support animal on the property.


As noted above, landlords need to understand their legal obligations regarding emotional support animals. Ignorance of the law is not an excuse and can give rise to weighty penalties. If you have any questions about your pet policy, the Fair Housing Act, or emotional support animals, contact Real Property Management Uintah. We can help you navigate state and federal laws and keep your rental property policies fully compliant with the law. 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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