Renter’s Rights with Emotional Support Animals: Accommodations and Guidelines

Understanding Renter’s Rights with Emotional Support Animals

Renting a home can come with its fair share of challenges, and when you have an emotional support animal (ESA), there are additional considerations to keep in mind. It’s essential to understand your rights as a renter and the guidelines surrounding emotional support animals to ensure a harmonious living situation. In this article, we will explore the accommodations available to renters with ESAs and provide you with important guidelines to follow.

What is an Emotional Support Animal (ESA)?

Before diving into the renter’s rights regarding emotional support animals, it’s important to clarify what exactly an ESA is. An emotional support animal provides therapeutic support to individuals with diagnosed mental or emotional disabilities. These animals offer comfort, companionship, and alleviate symptoms.

The Fair Housing Act (FHA) and Emotional Support Animals

The Fair Housing Act (FHA) is a federal law prohibiting housing discrimination based on disability. Under the FHA, individuals with mental or emotional disabilities are entitled to request reasonable accommodations, including allowing their emotional support animals in rental properties that have “no pets” policies or breed restrictions.

Requesting Reasonable Accommodations

To exercise your rights under the FHA, you must formally request reasonable accommodations from your landlord or property manager. Start by writing a letter that includes a clear description of your disability and how an emotional support animal will mitigate its effects. Ensure you provide relevant documentation from a licensed mental health professional supporting your need for an ESA.

Responsibilities of the Renter

While the FHA protects renters with emotional support animals, it’s crucial to understand and fulfill your responsibilities as a tenant. These responsibilities include:

  1. Proper Animal Care: You must ensure that your emotional support animal is well-behaved, properly trained, and does not pose a threat to the safety or well-being of others.

  2. Maintaining Cleanliness: It’s essential to clean up after your animal and prevent any damage or excessive wear and tear to the rental property.

  3. Respecting Rules and Regulations: While you have the right to keep an ESA, you are still expected to adhere to the property’s rules and regulations, such as noise restrictions and leash policies.

Important Guidelines for Renters with Emotional Support Animals

As a renter with an emotional support animal, it’s important to follow these guidelines to ensure a positive experience for both you and your landlord:

1. Familiarize Yourself with Local Laws and Regulations

In addition to federal laws like the FHA, familiarize yourself with any local laws and regulations that may impact your rights as a renter with an emotional support animal. Some states or cities may have specific guidelines or restrictions, so it’s crucial to be aware of and follow them.

2. Communication is Key

Open and honest communication with your landlord or property manager is crucial for a harmonious living arrangement. Inform them of your intention to have an emotional support animal and provide them with the necessary documentation. Transparency from the beginning can help prevent potential conflicts down the line.

3. Obtain Proper Documentation

To ensure your rights as a renter with an emotional support animal, obtain the necessary documentation from a licensed mental health professional. This documentation should include a letter stating your need for an ESA and the associated benefits to your mental or emotional well-being.

4. Liability Insurance

Consider obtaining liability insurance coverage for your emotional support animal. While it may not be a legal requirement, having insurance can provide you with added protection and demonstrate your commitment to being a responsible tenant.

5. Take Good Care of Your ESA

To maintain a positive living environment, it’s essential to take good care of your emotional support animal. Ensure they receive proper veterinary care, are up to date on vaccinations, and are well-behaved in public and common areas of the rental property.


Renting with an emotional support animal is protected by the Fair Housing Act, which allows individuals with mental or emotional disabilities to request reasonable accommodations. To ensure a smooth renting experience, renters with ESAs should familiarize themselves with local laws and regulations, communicate openly with landlords, obtain proper documentation, and fulfill their responsibilities as a tenant. By following these guidelines, renters with emotional support animals can enjoy a comfortable living environment while respecting the rights of others.

Related Articles

Table of Contents