“A housing provider may not deny a reasonable accommodation request because he or she is uncertain whether or not the person seeking the accommodation has a disability or a disability- related need for an assistance animal.” – HUD.gov
According to HUD (top of page 4), landlords and Condo HOA’s cannot request private medical information, ask for access to your medical provider or LMHP, or demand detailed or extensive information or documentation of a tenant’s mental or physical disability/impairment.
Landlords and Condo HOA’s are not in the business of determining if their tenant has a disability. They cannot mandate or request who an ESA letter comes from or determine if they feel the mental health professional is appropriate to write the ESA letter. If they have concerns, they may verify your licensed mental health professional’s credentials, but cannot reject your ESA letter from your LMHP based on any other associations.
Common intimidation tactics that landlords use:
- Request sensitive medical records
- Have lawyers contact medical providers and LMHPs to collect unneeded information
- Require medical providers and LMHP to testify in court or sign affidavits
- Delay acceptance of ESA
- Provide eviction notices for ESA handlers
According to HUD, if you have an ESA letter from a licensed mental health professional that is all that is required for you to live with your ESA in your home. “Such documentation is sufficient if it establishes that an individual has a disability and that the animal in question will provide some type of disability-related assistance or emotional support.” – HUD (Section 1, Paragraph 6)
Provide the Correct Documentation for your ESA
Showing that the animal has been recommended to you by a licensed therapist or other mental health professional often turns the situation around. Unfortunately, there are plenty of unscrupulous landlords that will try to deny your request by any means necessary. There are landlords that will try to deny emotional support animals because they lose income on pet rental fees. Landlords may also be unhappy that tenants that need support animals can now have easy access to LMHP’s online.
The fact that we now have easier access to mental health professionals should be celebrated and not denigrated. Because this is a common problem, tenants are now resisting the powerful real estate lobby and apartment complexes and are winning lawsuits in many cases. It’s always a good idea to read up on your rights and understand that you can stand up for yourself.
Remember, you do NOT have to register your ESA or have certificates from a third party. All you need is a legitimate ESA letter from a licensed mental health professional.
Qualify for an ESA Letter Online
Can My Landlord Require ESA Registration?
Registration for emotional support animals is not required by the law. Some uninformed landlords or airline employees may demand to see your “ESA registration” but the law does not require this at all. You can tell them that your ESA letter is all that is required by the Fair Housing Act and the Air Carrier Access Act.
Vests and other displays of being an ESA are also not required. If you have your ESA letter, you are welcome to get an ESA vest and get your ESA registered through a third party, but these are not needed to qualify your animal as an emotional support animal.
What to Do if Your Rights Are Violated