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What Lexington Park Landlords Need to Know About Emotional Support Animals

A Lexington Park Tenant Moving In to a Rental Home with her Emotional Support AnimalThe first image that typically comes to mind when somebody hears about assistance animals is a dog wearing a red vest guiding a blind person. However, there is a developing trend of emotional support animals. As a Lexington Park landlord, do you have to rent to someone with an emotional support animal?

First, look at the difference between service and emotional support animals. Service animals protected by the Americans with Disabilities Act are those exclusively trained to do work, provide assistance, or handle tasks for persons with disabilities. They can also recognize and act upon certain medical conditions. An emotional support animal (ESA) helps somebody who requires emotional or psychological support and is protected by the Federal Fair Housing Act. These animals usually have a close, emotional, and supportive bond with their owner.

To use the benefits of having an ESA, a resident must obtain a letter from a medical professional, like a psychiatrist, psychologist, or licensed clinical social worker. However, any medical professional can provide it. The letter needs to declare that the animal is necessary and what kind of animal the person has as their ESA. Additionally, a resident requesting more than one ESA must have an individual letter for each animal.

Emotional Support Animals (ESAs) play a crucial role in assisting individuals with various mental health conditions, including but not limited to 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. It’s important to note that the spectrum of conditions ESAs can aid is not confined to this list; any animal can serve as an ESA as long as a licensed mental health professional endorses it through a supporting letter.

Unlike traditional service animals, Emotional Support Animals are not required to undergo specific training or possess particular skills. However, they are considered a reasonable accommodation for individuals with disabilities under the Fair Housing Act (FHA). As a landlord, it’s crucial to understand that rejecting a verified ESA owner’s request for reasonable accommodation is generally only allowed if specific state guidelines apply, such as in cases where the landlord resides on the property and rents out a portion of it.

Furthermore, landlords cannot demand an advance deposit or additional fees for ESAs unless the animal becomes a nuisance or causes damage to the rental home; in this case, standard regulations applicable to any tenant or guest in a rental setting would apply. Understanding these guidelines is essential for landlords to navigate the accommodation process for ESA owners while maintaining a fair and compliant rental environment.

In Conclusion

The above is a general overview of FHA guidelines for ESAs, though you may need to check state guidelines as well, as there could be more state-specific guidelines on ESAs. Real Property Management Gold is knowledgeable regarding the Fair Housing Act requirements and how they concern you as a Lexington Park landlord. We can help you through these requirements to ensure you comply when renting to individuals with Emotional Support Animals.

Would you be interested in finding out more? Please contact us online or call us at 301-392-2172 for more information.

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.

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