You adore your emotional support animal (ESA). And you’re probably baffled when other people don’t immediately feel the same way. After all, your ESA helps you feel connected and calm. If other people could experience these emotions with your ESA, they would understand why your animal is vital to you. It would be convenient if they loved your ESA like you do — especially your landlord.

The Fair Housing Act and an ESA Letter 

An ESA letter is written by a licensed mental health professional, stating that your animal alleviates the symptoms of your mental or emotional disorder. And if you have a current and legitimate ESA letter, the Fair Housing Act (FHA) protects your right to have your ESA in your home — even if your landlord has a “no pets” policy. Moreover, under the FHA, typical pet fees don’t apply to your ESA. 

Although you and your ESA are protected under the FHA, your landlord may still have reservations about your animal. Having a skeptical landlord can make life difficult, but there are ways to win your landlord over. If you can make your landlord love your ESA, you’ll be able to breathe a little easier. The following are a few tips on getting your landlord to warm up.

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1. Have the Right Documentation 

The best way to assure your landlord is to have the correct documents. Enclose a copy of your ESA letter to verify your emotional support animal’s status. The ESA letter should contain the following:

  • Your licensed mental health professional’s current in-state license number and type of license.
  • A statement saying your ESA serves to cope with an emotional or mental condition.
  • Date the ESA letter was issued. 
  • The signature of the issuing licensed professional.

Providing your landlord with the correct documentation offers a degree of transparency and trust, placing you and your landlord on better terms.

2. Pick Up After Your Emotional Support Animal

Having a valid ESA letter doesn’t absolve you from being responsible for your animal. Showing your landlord that you’re still following basic courtesies will calm any anxieties your landlord might have. Often, landlords fear that ESA owners will abuse their FHA rights. Demonstrate to your landlord that you’re still going to follow basic behaviors of courtesy:

  • Pick up after your ESA.
  • Keep your ESA groomed and clean.
  • Prevent your ESA from destroying your rental unit and the common grounds.
Housing Rules for ESAs - Fair Housing Act - ESA Doctors
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3. Don’t Let Your ESA Loose in Common Areas

The FHA protects your right to have your ESA in your home. However, common areas are shared portions of a living space. In these areas, remember to respect the rights of others and don’t allow your ESA to roam free. Your landlord, roommates, and neighbors may not share the same comfort level with your ESA as you do. Therefore, keeping your ESA leashed or contained in common areas is respectful and safe. 

Keeping your animal contained or leashed in common areas also invites your landlord and neighbors to feel safe near your ESA. It offers a safe opportunity for your landlord to become familiar — and fall in love with — your ESA. 

Landlord greets and pets an emotional support dog
A few simple considerations may help to make your landlord love your emotional support animal.

4. Keep Your ESA in Control at All Times

The best way to gain your landlord’s trust is to demonstrate your ability to control your animal. Keeping your animal under control means that your emotional support animal…

  • doesn’t act aggressively towards others,
  • relieves itself appropriately, and
  • responds to your commands (if it’s a dog). 

By showing discipline, you assure your landlord that you take your rights under the FHA seriously.

How to Make Your Landlord Love Your ESA - 5 Points Infographic - ESA Doctors

5. Be Considerate

You’ll win your landlord over by being a considerate and rule-abiding FHA owner. For example, avoid the temptation to use the FHA laws as a cover for bad behavior. If you take that route, you’ll only destroy the trust that your landlord has for you and any other emotional support animal owner in the future. 

The better choice is to be considerate towards your landlord and your neighbors. Try not to let your ESA disrupt the ordinary activities around your home and follow basic rules regarding caring for pets. 

Your Landlord Will Love Your ESA

When it comes to landlords and the FHA, their fear stems from the reputation some ESA owners have of abusing their FHA rights. Let your landlord know that you don’t intend to disrupt or destroy the housing area.

Landlords are very wary of people who misrepresent their ESA. Falsifying ESA documents or misrepresenting an ESA is illegal in many states. Providing current and legitimate documentation assures a landlord that they’re not being scammed and that you are a responsible ESA owner. If you want your landlord to love your ESA, start the relationship on the right foot with a valid ESA letter!

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Three easy steps to get an ESA Letter with ESA Doctors
If you would like to work with a licensed therapist to qualify for an Emotional Support Animal, ESA Doctors may be able to assist you.
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