If you suffer from anxiety, depression, or panic attacks and you are at least 18 years of age, you may be eligible for an emotional support animal letter to allow your pet access to “no pet” residences.
An emotional support animal is more than a pet as its presence has a therapeutic effect on the person with a psychiatric disability. An emotional support animal is not a service animal as it’s not trained to perform certain tasks. Also, unlike service animals, emotional support animals only have access to “no pet” residences.
Please note that emotional support animal letters are only being prescribed to patients enrolled in treatment at a frequency mutually agreed upon.
The Fair Housing Amendments Act (FHAA) protects emotional support animals:
- Landlords, co-ops and HOAs are not permitted to exclude your emotional support animal solely because it is a certain breed or weight. They can only determine if the specific ESA in question poses a direct threat to the health and safety of others based on an individualized assessment of the ESA’s actual conduct.
- Landlords are not allowed to charge pet fees, pet deposits or an application fee in order to consider the tenant’s request for accommodation of their ESA. A landlord can charge you if your ESA causes damage to the property.
- An ESA must be allowed in common areas where other tenants are allowed, such as courtyards, gardens or pool areas so the tenant with disabilities can to enjoy the premises of their home just like non-disabled tenants.
- The Fair Housing Act exempts (1) owner-occupied buildings with no more than four units, (2) single-family houses sold or rented by the owner without the use of an agent, (3) housing operated by religious organizations and (4) private clubs that limit occupancy to members.