The first image that commonly leaps to mind when you overhear reference to assistance animals is that of a dog wearing a red vest, leading a blind person. However, there is a climbing trend for emotional support animals. Do you as an Eastpointe landlord have to rent to a tenant with an emotional support animal?
First off, let’s regard the contrasts between service animals and emotional support animals. Service animals sheltered by the Americans with Disabilities Act, are those that are singly trained to offer assistance, to do work, or execute tasks for persons with disabilities, they also are able to distinguish and act upon certain medical conditions. An emotional support animal (ESA) is one that assists somebody who needs either emotional or psychological support and is protected by the Federal Fair Housing Act. These animals are marked by the close, emotional, and supportive bond between the animal and its owner.
For the purpose of enjoying the profits of having an ESA, a tenant must acquire a letter in writing from a medical professional, such as a psychiatrist, psychologist, or licensed clinical social worker, although any medical professional can give the letter. The letter must specify that the animal is necessary, as well as what kind of animal the individual uses as their ESA. Additionally, a tenant requesting to have more than one ESA must have a separate letter for each individual animal.
The most prevalent conditions that ESAs assist 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 confined to these conditions. Any animal can be an ESA as long as the tenant has a letter of endorsement from a licensed mental health professional. Even current pets can become ESAs if the medical professional can attest that the patient’s current pet is providing vital mental support to the patient’s well-being.
Compared to standard service animals, Emotional Support Animals are not obligated by law to have any type of special training or experience to be authorized to help an individual that requires 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 reject a verified ESA owner’s request for reasonable accommodation unless you meet guidelines set in your state as a tenant-landlord owner such as renting out the basement of your home wherein you live on the main floor. Furthermore, you cannot charge an initial deposit or more fees for ESAs with the exemption that the ESA owner lets the animal be a pain or damage is done to the rental house, much as with any occupant or guest in a rental situation.
The above is a regular overview of FHA guidelines for ESAs, but you will need to investigate state guidelines as well as there may be additional state-specific guidelines on ESAs. Real Property Management Metro Detroit is well informed about the Fair Housing Act requirements and how they refer to you as an Eastpointe landlord. We can assist you in managing these requirements to assure that you are in compliance when renting to individuals with Emotional Support Animals. Learn more by contacting us online or calling us at 248-808-6550 today!
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.