The first image that conventionally comes to mind when you ascertain someone speaks of assistance animals is that of a dog wearing a red vest, leading a blind person. With that said, there is a swelling trend of emotional support animals. Do you as a Suwanee landlord have to rent to a resident with an emotional support animal?
First, let’s check out the variations between service animals and emotional support animals. Service animals preserved by the Americans with Disabilities Act, are those that are specially trained to impart assistance, to do work, or fulfill tasks for persons with disabilities, they also are able to realize 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 specified by the close, emotional and supportive bond between the animal and their owner.
With the intention of enjoying the boons of having an ESA, a resident must get hold of a letter signed by a medical professional, such as a psychiatrist, psychologist, or licensed clinical social worker, although any medical professional can hand over 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 prevailing 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 inhibited to these conditions. Any animal can be an ESA if 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.
In contrast to standard service animals, Emotional Support Animals are not requested by law to have any manner of special training or experience to be qualified 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. Plus, you cannot charge a primary deposit or further fees for ESAs with the not counting if the ESA owner consents the animal to be a trouble or damage is done to the rental house, much as with any occupant or guest in a rental situation.
The above is a sweeping overview of FHA guidelines for ESAs, but you will need to review state guidelines as well as there may be additional state-specific guidelines on ESAs. Real Property Management Executives Greater Atlanta knows about the Fair Housing Act requirements and how they bear on you as a Suwanee landlord. We can assist you in approaching these requirements to ascertain that you are in compliance when renting to individuals with Emotional Support Animals.
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.