The first image that typically crosses your mind when you pick up talks of assistance animals is that of a dog wearing a red vest, leading a blind person. Regardless, there is an emerging trend for emotional support animals. Do you as a Windermere landlord have to rent to a resident with an emotional support animal?
For starters, let’s examine the particularities between service animals and emotional support animals. Service animals covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act, are those that are uniquely trained to serve assistance, to do work or discharge tasks for persons with disabilities, they also are able to acknowledge 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 contrasted by the close, emotional and supportive bond between the animal and their owner.
So that it is possible to enjoy the fringe benefits of having an ESA, a resident must pick up a letter printed by a medical professional, such as a psychiatrist, psychologist, or licensed clinical social worker, although any medical professional can prepare 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 resident requesting to have more than one ESA must have a separate letter for each individual animal.
The most standard 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 constrained to these conditions. Any animal can be an ESA as long as the resident 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.
Distinguishable from standard service animals, Emotional Support Animals are not necessitated by law to have any style of special training or experience to be consented 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 resident landlord owner such as renting out the basement of your home wherein you live on the main floor. Add to that, you cannot charge an introductory deposit or subsidiary fees for ESAs except for when the ESA owner excuses the animal to be a vexation or damage is done to the rental house, much as with any occupant or guest in a rental situation.
The above is a casual overview of FHA guidelines for ESAs, but you will need to look into state guidelines as well as there may be additional state-specific guidelines on ESAs. Real Property Management South Orlando is competent about the Fair Housing Act requirements and how they relevant to you as a Windermere landlord. We can assist you in keeping these requirements to secure that you are in compliance when renting to individuals with Emotional Support Animals.
Stimulated to learning more? Please contact us online or call us at 407-982-2000 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.