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What Pleasanton Landlords Need to Know About Emotional Support Animals

A Pleasanton Tenant Moving In to a Rental Home with her Emotional Support AnimalThe initial image that typically comes to mind when one hears mention of assistance animals is that of a dog wearing a red vest guiding a blind person. But, there is a rising trend of emotional support animals. As a Pleasanton landlord, do you need 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 specially trained to provide assistance, perform tasks, or do work for people with disabilities. They can also recognize and act upon certain medical conditions. An emotional support animal (ESA) aids a person who requires either emotional or psychological support and is protected by the Federal Fair Housing Act. They are distinguished by the intimate, emotional, and supportive relationship between the animal and their owner.

To enjoy the benefits of having an ESA, a resident has to secure a letter written by a medical professional, like a psychiatrist, psychologist, or licensed clinical social worker, although any medical professional can provide the letter. It should specify that the animal is essential, as well as what type of animal the person has as their ESA. Moreover, a resident asking to have more than one ESA must acquire a separate letter for each animal.

The most common 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. Any animal can become an ESA as long as the resident has an endorsement letter from a licensed mental health professional. Even current pets can be ESAs if the medical professional can attest that the patient’s pet is providing crucial mental support to the patient’s well-being.

Unlike standard service animals, Emotional Support Animals are not legally required to have any kind of experience or special training to be permitted to assist an individual that needs support. However, they are considered a reasonable accommodation for a person with a disability under the Fair Housing Act (FHA). You as a landlord cannot deny 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 the home’s basement wherein you reside on the main floor. Additionally, you cannot charge extra fees or an advance deposit for ESAs unless the ESA owner allows the animal to be a nuisance or damage is done to the rental property, just 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 will need to check state guidelines too as there may be more state-specific guidelines on ESAs. Real Property Management One knows the Fair Housing Act requirements and how they affect you as a Pleasanton 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 knowing more? For additional information, please contact us online or call us at 925-794-8339.

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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