Most landlords are familiar with the Fair Housing Act and other laws that stipulate the rights of tenants around the United States, however, there is a small group of landlords who have not made an effort to learn about tenant rights, and the laws protecting tenants. And so you will find a landlord coming up with lame excuses to deny a tenant their right to live with their emotional support animals.
This article will highlight some of the excuses that landlords will use to prevent you from living with your emotional support animals in your house. Apart from that, this article seeks to educate landlords about housing laws, where they should not cross when it comes to tenants who want to live with emotional support animals. Because when a landlord ignores these laws, they risk being charged, through the department of housing, office of Fair and Equal Opportunity.
Here are some of the excuses that landlords will give to deny ESA’s.
Deny ESAs because the animal is too large or because it belongs to a specific breed
There are many cases where the landlord may acknowledge that you have the right to live with your emotional support animal. Still, when the animal is huge or of a particular breed, some landlords will say that pet rules in the building do not allow large animals or specific breeds. For instance, the landlord may claim that the building does not allow bulldogs or pets above a certain weight.
When you find yourself in such a situation, you need to know that emotional support animals are not pets, and rules that apply to pets do not apply to emotional support animals. That is something that most landlords have failed to recognize, the difference between a pet and an emotional support animal. The rules that apply to ESAs are different from the rules that apply to pets. So even if the emotional support animal is big, it can live in any building, because the ESA does not serve the same purpose as the pets. So the size or breed of the animal should not be an excuse for the landlord to deny the ESA, you can get a service animal to any building irrespective of the size, which is within the boundaries of the Fair Housing Act.
The landlord may require documentation from a local therapist.
There are occasions where the landlord may notice that you are not from around. So to deny you the chance to live with your emotional support animal, the landlord may request a recommendation letter from a local therapist. However, according to the Fair Housing Act, any licensed therapist in the United States can write you an ESA letter that will apply to any premise. And that includes all online therapists. So the location of the therapist should not determine the value of the ESA letter.
The landlord may require an ESA letter from a physician.
The ESA letter can come from any licensed health practitioner in the United States of America, so it is not restricted to physicians only. You can get an ESA letter from a social worker, psychologist, nurse and nurse practitioners, psychiatrists, and even online, as long as you are getting it from a licensed healthcare practitioner.
The landlord may request for more documentation beyond the ESA letter from your therapist.
There are instances where the landlord may continue asking for more documentation even after submitting the ESA letter. The landlord may continue asking for a doctor’s diagnostics, or further details into the ailment of the tenant requiring them to live with emotional support animals. If your landlord is doing this, then he is breaking the fair housing act, and he should be charged. As a tenant, do not provide anything beyond the ESA letter, because offering too much information means that the landlord is interfering with your privacy.
In a nutshell
Landlords are different; some are just okay with tenants living with animals, while others will look for reasons to prevent tenants from having emotional support animals. With the points above, you should be able to analyze the intention of the landlord. If the landlord refuses completely to allow emotional support animals into the building, then report them to the department of housing, office of fair housing, and equal opportunity. The department will follow up to make sure that the landlord will be charged for breaking the Fair Housing Act.