For those who own animals, one thing that is commonly understood is the difficulty in finding housing opportunities that permit the ownership of a pet on the property. Landlords often have the right to forbid the ownership of animals in their homes and use the justification of damages or other issues in order to deem their claims credible against pet owners. However, luckily for those who do own pets, especially if you require the animal in terms of their emotional support, it can be made much easier and more efficient to open up housing opportunities for you.
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Although there are still cases in which the landlord has the right to refuse an emotional support animal onto their property, in the majority of the housing circumstances, having a legitimate and credible ESA certification makes it illegal for the landlord to discriminate against pet owners. Here are a few ways in which have an Emotional Support Animal letter will make your move easier and more efficient, regardless of the regulations in which the landlord has implemented:
Make Sure to Meet the Requirements
Being in ownership of an ESA letter for your animal definitely puts you well on your way towards a much easier move, but before doing so, it is crucial to ensure that you satisfy the requirements as outlined in the Fair Housing Act (FHA). These requirements include things such as legitimately having an emotional or mental disability that places you at a disadvantage in major life activities, having a medical record of such a disability in your medical history, or being regarded by a mental health professional that these issues truly do plague your daily lifestyle. Once these issues are taken care of, it makes the entire process easier.
It should also be noted that the animal must not be a detriment to the financial or administrative components for the landlord, which would cause the landlord to have to alter the home in any way. If the animal is not deemed a threat to the well-being of the property itself, then the homeowner is legally required to not discriminate against the individual who owns the pet, ultimately allowing them to rent the property in question.
Rights of a Landlord
Although there are certain factors that the landlord can ask for in order to certify that your animal truly is for emotional support purposes, there are also an array of things in which protect you from having to be tell-all to the homeowner. For example, a landlord is legally required to accept the letter without inquiring further about your mental or emotional disability, and cannot pry into the medical history if the letter is legitimate. However, they do have the right to request the letter, and do so from a medical mental health professional, in order to truly certify that the animal is for the purposes of support.
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Another protection that landlords have is against the general understanding of the animal or animals in question, pertaining to the type of animal that is owned and the characteristics in which the animal or a specific breed portrays. For example, landlords have the right to refuse the ownership of dogs that are known to be overly aggressive, such as pit bulls or Rottweilers. Or, if the animals are excessive in terms of the property in question, such as multiple cats or a donkey, the landlord can claim that this type of circumstance would bring damage to the property, and therefore refuse your right to an ESA on their grounds.
Your Rights as an ESA Letter Holder
However, a credible certification that the animal is an ESA makes it illegal for a landlord to charge this fee, due to the fact that the animal is required for a medical condition of the tenant in question. Furthermore, the presentation and proclamation of owning an animal do not need to happen immediately after submitting an application, or in the circumstance wherein you are already in the home, can be given when you feel comfortable. This can help ESA owners in finding a property that suits them best, without the landlord being able to subconsciously disregard their application due to the ownership of the pet. Make sure to read the rules and regulations that exist in regards to ownership and giving of the ESA certification, in order to ensure that there is smooth and efficient communication between you and the landlord.
The fact of the matter is that those who own pets often have difficulty finding a property that suits them best, given the negative stigma that comes with owning a pet in a household. However, for those who are in possession of a legitimate and justifiable ESA certification, this process can be made easier and more efficient. When considering a specific home to rent, it is crucial to make sure that your letter fits with the requirements that are spelt out under the FHA, as well as being a relevant support animal under the standards that it won’t damage or cause problems to the home.
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Being open and honest with landlords upon attaining this letter is crucial, and promoting the idea of respect and communication is a way to ensure that no problems or roadblocks arise between you and your future landlord. Make sure to be aware of the various rules and regulations before going headfirst into this process, so that both your time and the landlord’s time, is not wasted through the process.
To apply for an Emotional Support Letter, schedule your appointment in San Francisco by calling (415) 966-0848, or click here to get your ESA letter online.