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Emotional Support Animal and Apartments

Moving into a new apartment but worried your dog may not be allowed to move in with you? If you can prove that your dog is an emotional support animal (ESA), then there is no reason to be afraid.

The Fair Housing Act (FHA) ensures that your pet will be permitted to live with you in your apartment even if it doesn’t allow pets. In this article, we are going to explain how you can get your dog registered as an ESA so it can move in with you to your new apartment.

Image by Vitaly Gariev / Unsplash

How to Register a Dog as an ESA

To get your dog registered as an emotional support animal, all you have to do is pick a registry and then share some details about yourself and your pet. Once you’ve done that, you’ll get an ID card for your dog, which you can show to your landlord to confirm that your pet is an ESA.

An ID card won’t be enough, though, and you’ll also need an ESA letter from a mental health professional. Ideally, the company that issues you the ID card should also help you get the letter.

The ESA letter will ensure that your dog is recognized as an ESA no matter where you go. Keep in mind that, before issuing you the letter, your mental health professional will confirm that you suffer from a mental health condition and your dog’s presence helps you cope with it.

Can My Dog Live In My Apartment as an ESA?

Yes, once you have received an ESA letter from a certified mental health professional, your dog will be allowed to live in your apartment even if it has a no-pet policy. You’ll have to show the letter to the landlord when requesting to have the dog move in with you.

Your landlord can’t charge you additional fees for accommodating your dog, but if your pet damages their property, then you may be liable to pay the repair costs.

According to the Fair Housing Act (FHA), it is unlawful for a person to “refuse to make reasonable accommodations in rules, policies, practices, or services, when such accommodations may be necessary to afford such person equal opportunity to use and enjoy a dwelling.”

You must be able to show that your dog offers you emotional relief when moving into a new apartment.

Note that while you can take your ESA almost everywhere with you, if it causes disturbance or creates issues for other people, you could be asked to take it elsewhere.

Unlike service dogs, ESAs don’t enjoy as many privileges. For example, service dogs have more extensive legal protection thanks to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). In many cases, you can take more than one service dog to a restaurant as long as you can prove that each dog serves a different purpose.

Service dogs have to undergo extensive training, though, in order to be qualified as a service dog. Emotional support animals don’t require any such training and you just have to get an ESA letter from a mental health professional.

Since ESAs don’t have to be trained by a professional trainer, there are certain responsibilities that come with owning one. For example, you have to make sure that your pet exhibits good behavior and doesn’t disturb your neighbors. This is especially important if you’re living in a small apartment.

The benefit of having your pet live with you in your apartment is that you’ll always have a furry friend to play and spend time with!

Image by Vitaly Gariev / Unsplash

Register Your Dog as an ESA

If you want your pet to start living with you in your new apartment, then we suggest getting it registered as an ESA as soon as possible. Make sure you get an ESA letter from a certified mental health professional as well, because that’s what you’ll be asked to present when moving into an apartment that has a no-pets policy.

The letter will serve as your official documentation, verifying the legitimacy of your dog’s status as an ESA. Once you have that out of the way, your dog can finally start living with you in your apartment!

By ML Staff. Images courtesy of Unsplash


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