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Dave Martin (703) 585-4687
Fairfax Realty - Fairfax, VA
Making Realty Dreams a Reality #WeWillGetYouHome

Emotional Support Animals (ESA)s are covered under the Fair Housing Act (FHA). A landlord may ask and you should be prepared to provide a letter from a licensed mental health professional.

The letter should state the person would benefit from an emotional support animal in their daily life.

The landlord/owner does not have the right to the details of your emotional issue, just that you do need this animal to function in a normal capacity. So the letter need not disclose those details and the landlord may be in violation of the law by asking for details.

ESA emotional support animals are exempt from any pet rent or additional fees. However be aware you could be held responsible for any damages.

PLEASE Note I am not a lawyer, I don't play one on TV and you should ask any legal questions of a qualified legal professional.

Feb 25, 2019 07:02 PM
Candice A. Donofrio
Next Wave RE Investments LLC Bullhead City AZ Commercial RE Broker - Fort Mohave, AZ
928-201-4BHC (4242) call/text

"In order to be protected by FHA laws, the ESA owner must have a diagnosed disability and provide documentation to the property owner or housing representative.
The benefits of FHA laws include the fact that property owners cannot charge an advance deposit or fees for ESAs. ESA owners should note, however, that if significant damage is done, or if it becomes apparent that the animal is being neglected, the property owner might be able to recoup fees later.
Property owners also cannot question the disability, require the animal to wear identification as an Emotional Support Animal, or refuse housing.
In short, FHA laws protect verified ESA owners who properly care for the animal but may not protect owners who are negligent or destructive."


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Feb 25, 2019 05:48 PM
Debe Maxwell, CRS
Savvy + Company (704) 491-3310 - Charlotte, NC
The right Charlotte REALTOR!

I don't know what the laws are in your state.

However, if you truly have a disability and a prescribed support animal, providing documentation or paying the pet fee should not be an issue at all for you.

Feb 25, 2019 06:46 PM
Bob Crane
Woodland Management Service / Woodland Real Estate, KW Diversified - Stevens Point, WI
Forestland Experts! 715-204-9671

Claiming to have one of these without a certification from a qualified medical professional may result in federal charges against you.

Feb 25, 2019 06:43 PM
Raj Taj
RE/MAX - Lake Bluff, IL
Drive By Blessings!

"Most anonymous writers are in need of some form of emotional support, that is all the proof I would need, I truly believe you. Unfortunately I'm not a licensed medical doctor, otherwise I would write your note.

Would an emotional support human work?"


Feb 25, 2019 05:52 PM
Doug Dawes
Keller Williams Evolution - 447 Boston Street Topsfield, MA - Georgetown, MA
Your Personal Realtor®

I think Dave Martin (703) 585-4687 gave you a great answer.

In Massachusetts 

Although these animals often have therapeutic benefits, they are not individually trained to perform specific tasks for their handlers. Under the ADA and Massachusetts law, owners of public accommodations are not required to allow emotional support animals, only service animals or dog guides.

Feb 26, 2019 05:06 AM
Bob "RealMan" Timm
Ward County Notary Services - Minot, ND
Owner of Ward Co Notary Services retired RE Broker

The State makes those decissions and thank goodness North Dakota just fell in line and are making those who claim an animal as a service animal have proof from a doctor that it is indeed a service animal.

Feb 25, 2019 06:38 PM
Nina Hollander, Broker
Coldwell Banker Realty - Charlotte, NC
Your Greater Charlotte Realtor

I don't handle rentals, so I really don't know. Sounds like something you need to ask an attorney. That being said Dave Martin (703) 585-4687 provided a good start to your answer, as did Candice A. Donofrio 

Feb 26, 2019 03:46 AM
Inna Ivchenko
Barcode Properties - Encino, CA
Realtor® • GRI • HAFA • PSC Calabasas CA

I believe it depends on the state you are in. Here in CA, you do some documents that it is your support animal and yes, it is usually a pet deposit or can be even an increased rent (depends on the animal).

Feb 25, 2019 11:52 PM
Steve Higgins
RE/MAX Kelowna - Kelowna, BC

Yes, a landlord can charge you a pet fee for any animal. Here it is half a months rent. I am sure if they felt the emotional support animal was just a way of getting an animal into a place that didn't take animals, they could require proof. Good luck.

Feb 25, 2019 06:18 PM
Kathleen Daniels, Probate & Trust Estate Specialist
KD Realty - 408.972.1822 - San Jose, CA
Probate Real Estate

I wish you all the best with this.  

Feb 25, 2019 05:52 PM
John Juarez
The Medford Real Estate Team - Fremont, CA

The answer to your first and second questions are most likely governed by local laws. The whole idea of emotional support animals and what qualifies as an emotional support animal and who qualifies as being in need of an emotional support animal is still evolving.

As for the extra fee for having a pet in you rented property, my guess is the answer to that question is "yes". 

Feb 25, 2019 05:44 PM
Dan Pittsenbarger
Keller Williams Western Realty - Bellingham, WA
Improving Conditions

I don't know the legal answer but my opinion is "yes" one should have some sort of proof - otherwise all pets are "emotional support" animals. Also in my opinion one is better off not reinforcing or supporting any non-optimum situations.

Feb 25, 2019 05:44 PM
Greg Cremia
Shore Realty of the Outer Banks - Nags Head, NC

Of course you have to prove your claim.

Feb 26, 2019 03:54 AM
Kevin J. May
Florida Supreme Realty - Hobe Sound, FL
Serving the Treasure & Paradise Coasts of Florida

Yes, no & no! Although you will have to have been seen by a licensed mental health professional to determine your disability and to obtain your letter of proof. Said letter expires concurrently with your lease and must be renewed. There are fees involved.

Feb 26, 2019 03:12 AM
Diana Dahlberg
1 Month Realty - Pleasant Prairie, WI
Real Estate in Kenosha, WI since 1994 262-308-3563

Looks like you got some good answers ... wishing you the best.

Feb 25, 2019 06:22 PM
Mary Yonkers
Alan Kells School of Real Estate/Howard Hanna Real Estate - Erie, PA
Erie/PA Real Estate Instructor

First, the landlord has the legal right to know who you are mr/ms Annonymous.  

Feb 26, 2019 05:46 AM
John Pusa
Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Crest - Glendale, CA
Your All Time Realtor With Exceptional Service

Consult with your broker.

Feb 25, 2019 08:39 PM
Lyn Sims
Schaumburg, IL
Real Estate Broker Retired

yes .... yes .... yes to rent charge usually around $30 per month in my area plus a deposit for that animal.

Do you have a support ferret?

Feb 26, 2019 05:35 AM
Scott Godzyk
Godzyk Real Estate Services - Manchester, NH
One of the Manchester NH's area Leading Agents

Yes they can ask you for the certififation of the animal. No they can not charge extra rent for the animal. 

Feb 26, 2019 05:03 AM
Roy Kelley
Retired - Gaithersburg, MD

You have some good information from Candice A. Donofrio

Feb 26, 2019 02:16 PM
Harry Norman, REALTORS® - Atlanta, GA
Associate Broker

That's a great question for a real estate attorney. 

Feb 26, 2019 01:49 PM
Barbara Todaro
RE/MAX Executive Realty - Happily Retired - Franklin, MA
Previously Affiliated with The Todaro Team

Candice gave you the answer to your situation....

Feb 26, 2019 08:22 AM
Ryan Huggins - Thousand Oaks, CA - Thousand Oaks, CA
Residential Real Estate and Investment Properties

Candice A. Donofrio has a great answer.  As always, you should consult a lawyer with any legal questions.

Feb 26, 2019 07:28 AM
Ron and Alexandra Seigel
Napa Consultants - Carpinteria, CA
Luxury Real Estate Branding, Marketing & Strategy

You have a good answer both from Dave Martin (703) 585-4687 and Candice A. Donofrio .

Feb 26, 2019 07:27 AM
Gabe Sanders
Real Estate of Florida specializing in Martin County Residential Homes, Condos and Land Sales - Stuart, FL
Stuart Florida Real Estate

I think this may vary by state.

Feb 26, 2019 06:02 AM
Richard Weeks
Dallas, TX
REALTOR®, Broker

I've never heard of pet rent.  Why would you not willingly provide Dr proof?

Feb 26, 2019 05:47 AM
Joan Cox
House to Home, Inc. - Denver Real Estate - 720-231-6373 - Denver, CO
Denver Real Estate - Selling One Home at a Time

I don't do property management.

Mar 03, 2019 09:44 AM
Will Hamm
Hamm Homes - Aurora, CO
"Where There's a Will, There's a Way!"

Good question but do not know.


Mar 02, 2019 09:48 AM
Michael J. Perry
KW Elite - Lancaster, PA
Lancaster, PA Relo Specialist

To claim a pet as a ESA you must be able to supply documentation

Feb 26, 2019 05:54 PM
Gita Bantwal
RE/MAX Centre Realtors - Warwick, PA
REALTOR,ABR,CRS,SRES,GRI - Bucks County & Philadel


Feb 26, 2019 04:55 PM
Antonio McMillan
writerit - Benge, WA

How to get a dream job?

Feb 26, 2019 03:42 PM
Caroline Gerardo
Licensed in 20 states - Newport Beach, CA
C. G. Barbeau the Loan Lady nmls 324982

Yes a landlord can ask for proof in most states. OR they can just ignore you and never rent to you. Think of it this way if I have a pig or a mountain lion as my indoor support animal why would landlord be responsible for possible damages?

Feb 26, 2019 03:24 PM
Sam Shueh
(408) 425-1601 - San Jose, CA
mba, cdpe, reopro, pe


Feb 26, 2019 10:59 AM
Olga Simoncelli
Veritas Prime, LLC dba Veritas Prime Real Estate - New Fairfield, CT
CONSULTANT, Real Estate Services & Risk Management

Proof - yes

Extra rent - don't think so; protected class

Feb 26, 2019 07:20 AM
Richie Alan Naggar
people first...then business Ran Right Realty - Riverside, CA
agent & author

Yes and can get dicey however as advocate groups can get vicious

Feb 26, 2019 07:00 AM
Annette Lawrence , Palm Harbor, FL 727-420-4041
ReMax Realtec Group - Palm Harbor, FL
Making FLORIDA Real Estate EZ

All pet owners should be imprisoned for the crime of hostage taking (imprisonment).

The 'entitlement' mentality of pet owner and those who claim the need of emotional support, that allow their pets to defecate on someones property is a criminal.

How can anyone with a conscience take an animal prisoner and claim this act humanitarian?

Unfortunately, a conscience is not needed by those who pass laws allowing critters to usurp property owner rights.

Has anyone given thought to human beings who are are hypoallergenic and must live in place NEVER occupied by filthy animals?

Someday we will need to explain to our great grand kids that in our day, dogs didn't have the right to vote. Pets, and those who hold them imprisoned, have more rights than many human beings. Absurd.

NOTE: I am an animal imprisoner but I do not impose my deviant behavior on others and leave my prisoner home in the house I own. Buy the house your critter will defaecate in and don't impose your entitlement thinking on the innocent land owner. If your critter does not come with a blue leash, your entitlement should be revoked.

Feb 26, 2019 05:45 AM