According to the Fair Housing Act, if you have an emotional support animal, your landlord is legally obligated to accommodate said animal (within reason), even if your building isn’t otherwise pet-friendly.
As with any request made to your landlord, it is best to put it in writing. A written request creates a paper trail, making it easy to keep track of your correspondence on the matter. If any problems should arise, you can reference the hard copies of the letters sent.
The letter doesn’t need to be very long; it should simply state that you are requesting accommodation for your support animal. You should attach documentation for your emotional support animal to the letter so your landlord can tell that it’s a legitimate support animal.
Emotional support animals are not recognized by the FHA unless accompanied by a letter from a licensed healthcare professional, so secure this document before you write your own letter.
You may wish to include a brief description of the animal, as this could help your landlord determine whether it poses any risks or challenges for other residents of the housing complex.
Below, we’ve included a template that you can use to craft an emotional support animal letter to your landlord.
Dear [Landlord’s Name],
In accordance with the Fair Housing Act, I am writing to request reasonable accommodation for my support animal, which will reside with me within my rental at [Rental Address].
I have a disability and, as such, require full-time assistance from this animal. I have attached a letter from my healthcare provider confirming my need for this form of assistance.
The animal in question is [include a brief description of your ESA].
If you wish to discuss this matter in more detail, you can reach me by phone at XXX-XXX-XXXX or email at [your email address].
Customize the template above to fit your needs. If you feel that your landlord may be uninformed on the laws related to support animals, you can go ahead and quote sections of the Fair Housing Act to remind him of your rights.
There are no laws regarding when you must disclose your emotional support animal (ESA) to your landlord. You can opt to inform your landlord of the emotional support animal before signing the lease or wait until after the lease is signed if you are concerned about discrimination.
You can send your letter via email, regular mail, or even deliver it by hand. Once your landlord receives the letter, he has ten days to respond to your request. Don’t hesitate to follow up with him before the ten days are up. Always keep copies of any correspondence related to the matter, just in case issues arise.