Many people have more than one emotional support animal (ESA) at home for various reasons. It may be that they need multiple ESAs to cope with their mental or emotional health condition. Or, it could be a household where more than one person has their own emotional support animal.
Whatever the case may be, you are allowed to have more than one ESA in your home as long as you meet the U.S. Department of Housing’s document requirements. If you have multiple ESAs covered by the appropriate documents, they are exempt from policies that limit the number of pets you can have in one household.
The reason for that is because emotional support animals are not considered pets—they are considered assistance animals. Therefore, landlords and other housing providers are not allowed to charge fees and deposits for ESAs, even if there is more than one.
Whether your ESA is a dog, cat, or one that sports feathers or scales, we’ll explain what you will need to do if you are trying to qualify for more than one ESA in your household. If you are ready to see if you qualify for an emotional support animal, complete the questionnaire in the link below and connect with a licensed mental health professional.
Why Do Some People Need More than One ESA?
There are many good reasons that someone might need more than one emotional support animal. It is not unusual, and in fact, HUD’s guidelines recognize that some people will need more than one ESA to deal with their mental or emotional disability.
For example, someone may have two emotional support animals that serve different purposes. A person may have a cat that provides a calming influence for their anxiety and a dog that provides them with a reason to get out when they feel depressed. It may also be that their adopted animals were bonded and couldn’t be separated, and both serve to alleviate symptoms of the owner’s health issues.
It is also common for households to have more than one emotional support animal if multiple people have more than one ESA. For example, there may be a home with a husband and wife with different emotional support animals. Or a home may have roommates that have their own ESA.
Whatever the reason may be, there is certainly no shame in needing more than one emotional support animal. And, as we’ll discuss in the next section, your right to have multiple ESAs is protected as long as you have the required documentation.
What Documents Do I Need if I Have More Than One ESA?
To qualify for multiple emotional support animals, you need an ESA letter covering each of your animals. Under federal Fair Housing guidelines, the only way to legally qualify for an emotional support animal is to have an ESA letter from a licensed healthcare professional.
An ESA letter is a signed document from a mental health professional that recommends an emotional support animal for your mental or emotional disability. The list of conditions qualifying for an ESA letter includes anxiety, PTSD, autism, and depression.
If you have more than one ESA, the letter must reference each ESAs. If you are a household where more than one person has an ESA, each member of the household must have their own ESA letter covering their specific emotional support animal.
If you need a licensed healthcare professional that can qualify you for an ESA letter, ESA Doctors can help. ESA Doctors can pair you with a licensed professional who is knowledgeable about emotional support animals and ESA letters. These licensed professionals are also familiar with situations where more than one ESA is needed. Click here to see why ESA Doctors is your best source for ESA support online.
Is There a Limit to How Many ESAs I Can Have?
You are allowed to have multiple ESAs in a household as long as each one is covered by a valid ESA letter. However, there are situations where you might have too many ESAs. After all, landlords and housing providers must reasonably accommodate emotional support animals under Fair Housing rules, meaning there are some limits.
Emotional support animals can only be small domesticated pets typically kept in the home like dogs, cats, small birds, gerbils, rabbits, turtles, fish, etc. Certain “exotic” animals may not be allowed.
In addition, no matter what type of ESA you have, you must be able to safely and humanely accommodate them in your home. For example, if you have several large ESAs in a very confined space, that may not be considered reasonable. If your ESAs are wild animals, that would also certainly be an issue. Your ESA situation cannot threaten the safety or health of other tenants in the building.
If you have a genuine need for more than one ESA and can comfortably accommodate them in your home, there’s no reason to feel ashamed. Countless people require the use of more than one ESA to deal with their mental health needs, and Fair Housing guidelines protect multiple ESA owners just as they do with individuals with only one ESA.
Just make sure you have the proper documentation to present to your housing provider to not run afoul of their policies limiting the number of normal pets. You can trust ESA Doctors to match you with a real-life professional that is licensed and capable of writing ESA letters.
Complete the questionnaire below to qualify for an ESA:
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