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What Osprey Landlords Need to Know About Emotional Support Animals

The initial picture that typically comes to mind when a person hears mention of assistance animals is that of a dog in a red vest leading a blind person. However, there is a growing trend of emotional support animals. Do you as an Osprey landlord need to rent to a resident with an emotional support animal?

A Osprey Tenant Moving In to a Rental Home with her Emotional Support AnimalFirstly, let’s look at the differences between service animals and emotional support animals. Service animals protected by the Americans with Disabilities Act are individually trained to do work, provide assistance, or perform tasks for people with disabilities. Also, they are able to identify and act upon certain medical conditions. An emotional support animal (ESA) helps a person who needs either emotional or psychological support and is protected by the Federal Fair Housing Act. They are distinguished by their close, emotional, and supportive relationship with their owner.

In order to enjoy the benefits of having an ESA, a resident has to secure a letter written by any medical professional, like a psychiatrist, psychologist, or licensed clinical social worker. It needs to specify that the animal is essential, as well as what kind of animal the person has as their ESA. Additionally, a resident asking to have more than one ESA must 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 limited to these conditions. Any animal can be an ESA so long as the resident gives an endorsement letter from a licensed mental health professional. Existing pets can even become ESAs if the medical professional can attest that the patient’s current pet is giving vital 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 an individual that needs support. However, they are considered a reasonable accommodation for an individual with a disability 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-specified guidelines as a resident landlord owner, such as renting out the basement of your property while you stay on the main floor. Furthermore, you cannot charge an advance deposit or additional fees for ESAs with the exception that the ESA owner allows the animal to become a nuisance or damage is dealt to the rental home, like with any occupant or guest in a rental situation.

In Conclusion

The above is a general summary of FHA guidelines for ESAs, but you should check state guidelines as well as there might be more state-specific guidelines on ESAs. Real Property Management Sarasota & Manatee is knowledgeable about the Fair Housing Act requirements and how they affect you as an Osprey landlord. We can help you in navigating these requirements to ensure that you are in compliance when renting to persons with Emotional Support Animals.

Interested in finding out more? Please contact us online or call us at 941-216-0005 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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