Emotional support animals make the lives of people living with mental illnesses infinitely better. So it’s no wonder that they want to become roommates with their new fuzzy friend. But what if they’re renting an apartment? Today, we are covering all there is to know about the emotional support animal vs pet friendly apartments differences. Keep reading to learn more!
Unlike ESA Owners, Pet Owners Must Find a Pet-Friendly Apartment!
When looking for a place to rent, being a pet parent can make things difficult. You have to find pet-friendly housing or else your furry family can’t move in. The pet policy on your lease must always be respected.
The only exception to this is if you are an emotional support animal owner. Having an ESA is by no means the same as having a pet. So, finding a good place to rent is much, much easier if you have an ESA. No matter what is written on your lease about pets, your furry companion can live with you.
Looking Pet Friendly Apartments for Rent? Pet Owners Need to Pay a Pet Deposit!
To make matters even harder for cat and dog owners, they must pay a pet deposit. Most rented real estate requires a pet fee and a pet deposit.
How much you will have to shell out depends on what city you are in and what kind of apartment you are renting. In places such as New York City, you can expect to pay more than $300 for a dog deposit. And that’s not even counting the monthly pet fee!
ESA owners, however, don’t have to worry about that. They are completely exempt from having to pay a security deposit for their companions.
The Difference Between a Pet and an Emotional Support Animal
So why is it that pets can only live in pet friendly apartments but ESAs don’t? To know the answer to that question, you need to know the difference between a pet and an ESA.
Pets are beautiful little animals we get to keep us company. If we love animals, there’s a big chance we’ll add them to the family. After all, their presence is refreshing and brings everyone together!
Emotional support animals are a different story. They have a job to do: to make living with a mental health problem easier. Plenty of people suffer from mental illness in the United States. Going about your day-to-day isn’t always easy. ESAs bring love and joy into their life and make it infinitely better.
As you can see, owning a pet is a choice, owning an ESA is a crucial part of someone’s therapy. Because of this, ESA owners need to have their furry sidekick by their side at all times. Not allowing the two to live together would be a violation of that person’s disability rights. How can they be allowed to do that? With an ESA letter!
What Is an ESA Letter, and How Can You Get One?
An ESA letter is the only way to prove to a landlord your dog or cat isn’t just a pet — but an ESA. Thus, they know they need to allow you two to live together at no added charge. If you don’t have an ESA letter, the question of emotional support animal vs pet friendly apartments is off the table.
To get this Holy Grail of letters, you need to reach out to a licensed mental health professional (LMHP). They will ask you some questions and determine if you have a diagnosable mental illness. If so, they will issue you an emotional support letter.
But why spend hours researching a good therapist when you could be doing other (fun) things? CertaPet does all the legwork so you don’t have to worry about the process of getting an ESA letter. Simply take this free 5-minute screening test and we will connect you to a mental health professional in your state!
There Are Two Federal Laws That Protect ESAs and Not Pets!
Now you know that emotional support animals can live in all kinds of rented housing. But did you know that there is one more law that protects ESAs? The Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA) lets you travel by plane with your cute furry family. And just like with pets and housing laws, the ACAA doesn’t cover pets.
So, to recap, there are two ironclad emotional support animal laws that protect ESAs. Who knew emotional support animals had so many privileges!
The Fair Housing Act: Unlike Pets, ESAs Are Allowed in All Rented Accommodation!
You have the Fair Housing Act to thank for allowing you to live with your ESA. This thorough law makes life a lot easier (and less stressful!) for ESA parents when moving to rented units.
The best thing about this law is that it is very inclusive. It doesn’t matter what kind of property you are renting. A bedroom, small apartments, three-bedroom apartments, a house, a whole building — it’s all the same!
You could be renting a place with spacious grounds, a swimming pool, beautiful scenery, and in a lovely area. You could even be moving into an apartment that has a no-pets policy and it wouldn’t matter. In every case possible, the landlord must provide you with reasonable accommodation.
Remember, a Landlord Must Provide “Reasonable Accommodation”!
The Fair Housing Act uses “reasonable accommodation” a lot in their wording. What this means is that the landlord can’t make a tenant’s life difficult and force them to move out.
Imagine a really mean landlord who does not want animals on their property. They can impose unrealistic size restrictions for ESAs so they and their owner move out. Fortunately, this is not legal. Of course, you can’t share a flat with your emotional support elephant. But you can with your massive San Bernard.
As a rule of thumb, a dog or cat is usually more than okay for landlords. Even the occasional bunny or guinea pig is considered reasonable.
The Landlord’s Rights: When Are Emotional Support Animals Not Allowed in Apartments?
As a landlord, the Fair Housing Act also gives you some rights. There are situations in which you can refuse to let an ESA into your property. If your tenant’s situation falls into one of the following, you have the right to evict them:
- If the emotional support animal is being abused or neglected by the owner.
- When the emotional support animal is unruly and causes property damage.
- When the emotional support animal is aggressive and a danger to neighbors.
If You Train and Socialize Your ESA, You Should Be Good to Go!
A well-behaved emotional support animal doesn’t cause any problems for anyone. So, you should train them as best as you can before you think about moving and renting a home. Fortunately, you can do it yourself, as it isn’t too hard to do!
Pet Friendly Apartments Near Me!
There are so many homeowners that are animal lovers and will be happy to accommodate you and Fido! You’re sure to find one near you!
Looking for a House for Rent or Pet Friendly Apartments? Craigslist is a Good Option!
Craigslist is a great place to find a home for you and your pet. However, just be savvy and don’t allow fraudsters to scam you out of your hard earned dollars!
If You Need an ESA Letter: CertaPet Has You Covered
Now that you have figured out the amazing, perks-filled emotional support animal vs pet friendly apartments relationship, it may be time to get an ESA! To reap all the benefits of not having to narrow down your search to just cat or dog-friendly apartments, you need an ESA letter.
CertaPet takes care of all the boring paperwork for you. All you need to do is take our free 5-minute screening test and wait for the results! If the results indicate that you may qualify for an ESA, we will put you in touch with a licensed mental health professional in your state.
They will take over from there and issue you your ESA letter. In no time you will have an emotional support addition to your furry family!
Common Questions on Emotional Support Animals vs Pet Friendly Apartments
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