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What Battle Lake Landlords Need to Know About Emotional Support Animals

A Battle Lake Tenant Moving In to a Rental Home with her Emotional Support AnimalWhen somebody mentions assistance animals, the first image that comes to mind is that of a dog wearing a red vest, leading a blind person. However, there is an increasing trend of demand for emotional support animals. Do you as a Battle Lake landlord have to rent to a resident with an emotional support animal?

So what are the differences between service animals and emotional support animals? Service animals protected by the Americans with Disabilities Act, are highly trained, as they also have to fill their master’s limitations due to disabilities like physical impairment or blindness. Service animals are taught to push wheelchairs, or guide a blind person, or alert someone in case their master is having a seizure. Service dogs are entitled to accompany their handlers wherever their handlers go, they also are able to recognize and act upon certain medical conditions. An emotional support animal (ESA) Emotional Support Animals (ESA) are those that accompany a human with a mental, emotional or psychological disability. In most cases, ESA companions are dogs or cats, but there have relatively been other animals that can very well serve the duties, such as a horse, turtle or rabbit and is protected by the Federal Fair Housing Act. These animals are distinguished by the close, emotional and supportive bond between the animal and their owner.

In order to enjoy the benefits of having an ESA, a resident must secure a letter written by a medical professional, such as a psychiatrist, psychologist, or licensed clinical social worker, although any medical professional can provide 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 common 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 limited 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 determine that the animal can be a comforting companion to the individual. Unlike standard service animals, Emotional Support Animals are not required by law to have any kind of special training or experience to be allowed 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. Additionally, you cannot charge an advance deposit or extra fees for ESAs with the exception that the ESA owner allows the animal to be a nuisance or damage is done to the rental house, much as with any occupant or guest in a rental situation.

In Conclusion

The above is a general overview of FHA guidelines for ESAs, but you will need to check state guidelines as well as there may be additional state-specific guidelines on ESAs. Real Property Management Optimum is knowledgeable about the Fair Housing Act requirements and how they apply to you as a Battle Lake landlord. We can assist you in navigating these requirements to make sure that you are in compliance when renting to individuals with Emotional Support Animals.

Interesting learning more? Please contact us online or call us at 612-730-8293 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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