The first image that may frequently dawn on you when you receive comments on assistance animals is that of a dog wearing a red vest, leading a blind person. Even so, there is an increasing trend of emotional support animals. Do you as a West Allis landlord have to rent to a resident with an emotional support animal?
Firstly, let’s go over the difference between service animals and emotional support animals. Service animals conserved by the Americans with Disabilities Act, are those that are specially trained to present assistance, to do work, or carry through tasks for persons with disabilities, they also are able to note and act upon certain medical conditions. An emotional support animal (ESA) is one that assists somebody who needs either emotional or psychological support and is protected by the Federal Fair Housing Act. These animals are recognized by the close, emotional and supportive bond between the animal and their owner.
With a view to enjoy the blessings of having an ESA, a resident must take up a letter annotated by a medical professional, such as a psychiatrist, psychologist, or licensed clinical social worker, although any medical professional can grant the letter. The letter must specify that the animal is necessary, as well as what kind of animal the individual uses as their ESA. Additionally, a resident requesting to have more than one ESA must have a separate letter for each individual animal.
The most customary conditions that ESAs assist with are post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, depression, fear or phobias, panic disorder or panic attacks, mood disorders, personality disorders, seasonal affective disorder, and social anxiety disorder. However, ESAs are not curbed by these conditions. Any animal can be an ESA as long as the resident has a letter of endorsement from a licensed mental health professional. Even current pets can become ESAs if the medical professional can attest that the patient’s current pet is providing vital mental support to the patient’s well-being.
Distinctive to standard service animals, Emotional Support Animals are not imposed by law to have any stamp of special training or experience to be recognized to help an individual that requires support. However, they are considered a reasonable accommodation for a person with a disability under the Fair Housing Act (FHA). You as a landlord cannot reject a verified ESA owner’s request for reasonable accommodation unless you meet guidelines set in your state as a resident landlord owner such as renting out the basement of your home wherein you live on the main floor. Not only that, you cannot charge a basic deposit or accumulated fees for ESAs disqualifying when the ESA owner tolerates the animal to be a problem or damage is done to the rental house, much as with any occupant or guest in a rental situation.
The above is a liberal overview of FHA guidelines for ESAs, but you will need to go over state guidelines as well as there may be additional state-specific guidelines on ESAs. Real Property Management Greater Milwaukee is very familiar with the Fair Housing Act requirements and how they involve you as a West Allis landlord. We can assist you in conducting these requirements to clinch that you are in compliance when renting to individuals with Emotional Support Animals.
We are pledged to the letter and spirit of U.S. policy for the achievement of equal housing opportunity throughout the Nation. See Equal Housing Opportunity Statement for more information.