What does it mean?

Some landlords do not have to comply with federal emotional support animal rules.

  • The “Mrs. Murphy” exception exempts owner-occupied buildings with 4 or less units.

  • An owner-occupied building may also be known as a live-in landlord.

Where did it come from?

“Mrs. Murphy” refers to a hypothetical widower that lives on her property while renting out the other units.

  • This exemption was intended to protect smaller landlords like her from the burdens of complying with the Fair Housing Act.

If this applies to you:

If you live in an owner-occupied building with up to 4 units, your landlord technically does not have to accommodate your emotional support animal under federal ESA guidelines.

  • However, there may be state housing laws for ESAs they still need to follow.

No legal obligation ≠ no ESA allowed

Some landlords are still willing to work with tenants that need an emotional support animal and may accept an ESA letter voluntarily.

  • If this housing situation applies to you, it can be helpful to have a conversation with the owner about your need for an ESA to see if they would be willing to accommodate your ESA as a courtesy.
What is the Mrs. Murphy Exception to the Fair Housing Act?

Having an ESA is beneficial for your mental health, and in most cases, accepted by landlords — provided you have a legitimate ESA letter from a licensed health professional.

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Get your legal ESA Housing Letter today!