Skip to Content

Get a FREE assessment of your rental property. Start here!

Get a FREE assessment of your rental property. Start here!

What Coeur d’ Alene Landlords should know about Emotional Support Animal (ESA)

It may seems like service dogs are for the blind, but this statement is false.  There is a swelling trend of emotional support animals in the service dog category. Do you as a Coeur d’Alene landlord have to rent to a resident with an emotional support animal?

A Suwanee Tenant Moving In to a Rental Home with her Emotional Support AnimalIt may be advised to first look at the difference between service animals and emotional support animals.  Service animals preserved by the Americans with Disabilities Act, are those that are specially trained to do work, to impart assistance,or fulfill tasks for persons with disabilities, they also are able to notice and act in medical situations . 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 specified by the close, emotional and supportive bond between the animal and their owner.

A resident must get hold of a letter stating the need of a emotional support animal signed by a medical professional, such as a psychiatrist, psychologist, or licensed clinical social worker, although any medical professional can hand over the letter. The letter must specify that the animal is necessary, in addition to the breed of dog.  In Addition, if a resident has been of more than one emotional support animal than they need separate documentation for each animal

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 are reason why a resident would need an emotional support animal. However, ESAs are not exclusively those conditions.  A ferret, gerbil, or mouse could be an emotional support animal, in fact 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.

Differently from standard service animals, Emotional Support Animals are not requested by law to have any special training or experience to help an individual who requires support.  However, they are considered a reasonable accommodation for a person with a disability under the Fair Housing Act (FHA). When renting out your Coeur d’Alene rental you cannot reject a verified ESA owner’s request for reasonable accommodation.  Unless you do not 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, then you must rent out to persons with an emotional support animal.  In addition, one cannot charge a primary deposit or fees for ESAs with the not counting if the ESA owner consents the animal to be a trouble or damage is done to the rental house, much as with any occupant or guest in a rental situation.

This general guide should give you a better understanding on how one deals with emotional support animal.  However, please be advised to review state guidelines as well as there may be additional state-specific guidelines on ESAs.  Rreal Property Management Coeur d’Alene can assist you in approaching these requirements to ascertain that you are in compliance when renting to individuals with Emotional Support Animals.