By law, owners of emotional support animals (ESA) are exempt from residential no-pet policies. Housing providers must reasonably accommodate tenants that have an ESA, as long as they can provide an ESA letter from a licensed healthcare professional as proof.

However, just because the tenant has an ESA letter for housing does not mean the landlord always has to accept the animal.

These are 3 reasons a landlord can deny an ESA:

  1. The landlord has evidence the animal poses a safety or health threat to others.
  2. The animal has caused substantial property damage.
  3. You live in an owner-occupied building with no more than 4 units OR a single-family home sold or rented by the owner without the use of a broker.

A landlord can only reject an ESA if specific criteria regarding the rental unit or issues with the ESA are met.

A landlord can also deny an ESA request if the tenant’s ESA letter is not compliant with HUD guidelines. If you’re interested in qualifying for an ESA, it is advised to work with a licensed healthcare professional familiar with ESA letters.

When Can a Landlord Legally Reject an Emotional Support Animal?

Having an ESA is beneficial for your mental health, and in most cases, accepted by landlords regardless of their pet rules — provided you have a legitimate ESA letter issued by a licensed health professional.

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