Can Landlord Reject Emotional Support Animals

Landlords are allowed to deny requests for emotional support animals if they can demonstrate that allowing the animal would cause a direct threat to the health or safety of other tenants, or cause substantial physical damage to the property that cannot be reasonably accommodated. In these instances, the landlord may request documentation from a doctor or licensed mental health professional to verify the disability and the need for the animal. Landlords are required to make reasonable accommodations for tenants with disabilities, but they are not required to allow animals that would pose a direct threat to the health or safety of others or cause substantial physical damage to the property.

Federal Fair Housing Act Considerations

The Fair Housing Act (FHA) is a federal law that prohibits discrimination in housing based on several characteristics, including disability.

Under the FHA, landlords are obligated to make reasonable accommodations for tenants with disabilities. This may include allowing tenants to keep emotional support animals (ESAs) in their rental units, even if the landlord has a “no pets” policy.

Reasonable Accommodations Under FHA

  • Landlords are required to consider requests for reasonable accommodations from tenants with disabilities.

  • Reasonable accommodations may include:

    • Allowing tenants to keep ESAs in their rental units

    • Waiving pet fees or deposits

    • Making modifications to the unit to accommodate the tenant’s disability

    • Landlords are not required to make accommodations that would impose an undue hardship.

      • Undue hardship may include:

        • Significant financial cost

        • Health or safety risks to other tenants

        • Damage to the property

        • Additional Considerations for Landlords

          • Landlords may require tenants to provide documentation of their disability and the need for an ESA.

          • Documentation may include a letter from a healthcare professional or a disability rights organization.

          • Landlords may also ask tenants to provide information about the ESA, such as its breed, size, and temperament.

          • Landlords should work with tenants to find a reasonable accommodation that meets the needs of both parties.

            Laws Governing Emotional Support Animals

            JurisdictionSummary of Laws Governing ESAs
            Federal LawThe FHA prohibits housing discrimination against disabled individuals, including those who use ESAs.
            State LawsMany states have laws that specifically address ESAs. These laws vary from state to state.
            Local LawsSome cities and counties have laws that regulate ESAs. These laws may vary from state and federal law.

            If you are a landlord, it is important to be aware of your obligations under the FHA and other applicable laws. You should also have a clear pet policy in place and be prepared to make reasonable accommodations for tenants with disabilities.

            State and Local Laws Regarding Emotional Support Animals

            In the United States, emotional support animals (ESAs) are not considered service animals under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Therefore, landlords are not legally required to accommodate ESAs in their rental properties. However, some state and local laws may provide protections for ESAs. For example, California has a law that prohibits landlords from discriminating against tenants with ESAs. Landlords in California must allow ESAs in their properties and cannot charge tenants additional fees or deposits for having an ESA.

            Other states and localities may have similar laws or ordinances that protect tenants with ESAs. It is important to check the specific laws in your area to see if ESAs are protected. If you are a tenant with an ESA, you should provide your landlord with a letter from your doctor or mental health professional stating that you need an ESA to help you with your disability.

            • Under the Fair Housing Act (FHA), landlords are prohibited from discriminating against tenants based on disability.
            • This includes refusing to rent to tenants with ESAs.
            • However, landlords are not required to make modifications to their properties to accommodate ESAs.
            • Landlords may also charge reasonable fees to tenants with ESAs for any damage caused by the animal.

            State Laws Regarding Emotional Support Animals
            CaliforniaCalifornia Civil Code Section 54.2
            ColoradoColorado Revised Statutes Section 24-13-109
            FloridaFlorida Statutes Annotated Section 83.49
            IllinoisIllinois Human Rights Act
            MarylandMaryland Fair Housing Act

            Balancing Tenants’ Rights with Landlord Concerns

            The topic of landlords rejecting emotional support animals (ESAs) has become increasingly relevant in recent years. As more individuals turn to ESAs for assistance with various mental health conditions, navigating the rights of tenants and the concerns of landlords has become a complex issue.

            Defining Emotional Support Animals

            Emotional support animals are animals that provide comfort and emotional support to individuals with disabilities. Unlike service animals, ESAs do not receive specific training for tasks related to a disability.

            Federal Laws and ESA Rights

            • The Fair Housing Act (FHA) protects tenants with disabilities from discrimination, including the denial of housing based on the presence of an ESA.
            • The FHA requires landlords to make reasonable accommodations for tenants with disabilities, including allowing ESAs in housing.

            Landlord Concerns

            Landlords may have concerns about allowing ESAs in their properties, including:

            • Property Damage: Animals can cause damage to carpets, furniture, and other property.
            • Noise and Behavior: ESAs may create noise or exhibit disruptive behavior that disturbs other tenants.
            • Liability: Landlords may be held liable for injuries caused by animals on their property.

            Responsibilities of Tenants

            Tenants who request an ESA have certain responsibilities, including:

            • Providing Documentation: Tenants must provide documentation from a healthcare professional stating the need for an ESA.
            • Compliance with Pet Policies: Tenants must comply with the landlord’s pet policies, such as leash laws and vaccination requirements.
            • Responsibility for Damages: Tenants are responsible for any damage caused by their ESA.

            Mediation and Resolution

            In cases of disputes between tenants and landlords regarding ESAs, mediation can often facilitate a resolution. Landlords and tenants can work together to address concerns and find mutually agreeable solutions.


            Balancing the rights of tenants with disabilities and the concerns of landlords is a complex issue. By understanding the relevant laws, fostering open communication, and employing mediation when necessary, both parties can work towards a harmonious living environment.

            In the table below, you can find a summary of the key points discussed in this article:

            IssueLandlord ConcernsTenant Responsibilities
            Emotional Support AnimalsProperty Damage, Noise and Behavior, LiabilityDocumentation, Compliance with Pet Policies, Responsibility for Damages
            Federal Laws and ESA RightsFair Housing Act (FHA)Reasonable Accommodations
            Mediation and ResolutionOpen Communication, MediationWillingness to Compromise

            Documenting and Verifying Emotional Support Animal

            Individuals with disabilities needing the assistance of an emotional support animal (ESA) should follow the necessary steps to document and verify the animal’s legitimacy.

            Documentation and Verification Process

            • Obtain a letter from a licensed mental health professional stating the individual’s need for an ESA.
            • The letter should include:
              • The patient’s name and contact information.
              • The provider’s name, license number, and contact information.
              • The date the letter was written.
              • A diagnosis of the patient’s disability.
              • An explanation of how the ESA alleviates the patient’s disability.
            • Keep a copy of the letter in a safe place and provide a copy to the landlord.
            • Provide the landlord with documentation of the ESA’s training and vaccinations.
            • Landlord’s Responsibilities

              • Landlords are required to allow ESAs in housing unless:
                • The ESA poses a direct threat to the health and safety of others.
                • The ESA causes substantial physical damage to the property.
              • Landlords cannot charge extra fees or deposits for ESAs.
              • Landlords must make reasonable accommodations to allow ESAs.
              • Tenant’s Responsibilities

                • Tenants are responsible for the behavior of their ESAs.
                • Tenants must keep their ESAs under control and prevent them from causing damage to the property.
                • Tenants must clean up after their ESAs.
                • Additional Information

                  ESA vs. Service Animal
                  ESAs provide emotional support, while service animals perform specific tasks.
                  ESAs do not require special training, while service animals do.
                  Landlords cannot deny housing to individuals with ESAs, while they can deny housing to individuals with service animals.

                  And that’s a wrap on our exploration of whether landlords can reject emotional support animals. Thanks for sticking with me on this journey into the world of furry companions and landlord legalities. Don’t forget to share your thoughts and experiences in the comments section below – I’d love to hear your take on this topic. Keep an eye out for more exciting reads on this blog. Until then, keep calm and support your emotional well-being, my friends!