Know About Emotional Support Animal Laws and Rights

People with disabilities who need extra support may choose an emotional support animal (ESA) to help them through their daily lives. These animals provide companionship, comfort, and relief from symptoms of various mental health conditions. It may include anxiety disorder or depression, which can become overwhelming without these creatures around.

Unlike service animals, emotional support pets aren't trained to work or perform tasks. But, they do fundamentally alter symptoms by providing unconditional love and comfort just being around.

Emotional Support Animal Laws

There are quite a few laws that govern the use of ESAs, but the two major federal laws are:

  1. The Fair Housing Act
  2. Air Carrier Access Act

These government agency laws protect any individual who possesses an ESA letter. If you consider getting an ESA letter, you should know about its laws. These laws will help you understand what you should expect from landlords and airlines when having your ESA accompany you.

  • Fair Housing Act (FHA) - Emotional Support Animal Housing Laws:
  • Federal nondiscrimination laws provide housing protections for individuals with disabilities. These protections apply in:

    • Private housing
    • State and local government housing
    • Public housing
    • Federally-assisted housing programs and activities.

    The United States Department of Housing and Urban Development has issued new guidelines to protect those who have emotional support animals. This means no landlord can deny your right to live with an animal if it's truly helping you feel better.

    The law protects the rights of ESA owners. The landlords cannot charge them for living with their emotional support animal, and no-pet facilities also have this rule.

    The HUD housing rules for an emotional support animal are specific. They must have a letter from their licensed mental health professional that proves they need this kind of assistance. Landlords cannot ask any questions about disability or demand to see identification cards either.

    You can file a complaint with the US Department of Housing if you experience any discrimination from a landlord or property owner because of your disability.

    Moreover, according to these laws it is not compulsory for you to put any ESA tags on your animal or make them wear emotional support dog vests.

  • Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA):
  • The Air Carrier Access Act is a law passed in 1990 that protects the right of all people, including disabled passengers. The Department of Transportation's policy also says airlines cannot refuse service based on disability- it would be illegal discrimination.

    The law allows physically challenged people to fly with their emotional support animals under certain conditions. As of now, only emotional support dogs are recognized as such, and unfortunately, miniature horses cannot do so because they're too small in size.

    Although the airline will provide certain accommodations for your pet thus, it’s important to let them know before traveling so they can make special arrangements.

    The law has changed, and as of January 11th, 2021. It is no longer possible to travel with your emotional support animal for free. Now, you will have to pay a fee just like any other pet does when traveling by plane.

    When traveling by air, make sure that you know any applicable laws and regulations. You may be required to bring an animal with a small size or have one travel in the plane’s cargo.

An emotional support animal letter letter gives you the right to have a pet, even if it is not a common type of pet. If you have an ESA letter, landlords, property managers, and public places cannot charge you any fees. Besides, ADA has also presented some guidelines for how disabled people must be treated. According to ADA emotional support animals guidelines, people suffering from any disabilities must not be discriminated against in any area.

Emotional Support Animal Registration

Many people fall into the trap of ESA registration, thinking it is a legal requirement to keep their ESA.

To clear this misconception once and for all, know that ESA registration is NOT real.

Several fraudulent websites claim that you need to get your ESA registered in their database. You don't need to do this.

This is a false claim; as mentioned earlier, the only legal requirement for an ESA is an ESA letter that you can obtain from a licensed mental health professional after getting your symptoms assessed.

These are nothing more than tricky ways to get people to pay for something that isn’t real.

The Americans with Disabilities Act, The Air Carrier Access Act, and The Fair Housing Act prohibit discrimination protect people with disabilities. If you want to have your ESA with you everywhere, the only document you will need is an ESA letter.

However, you need to get your ESA letter from a legal place. If you have a fake ESA letter and someone finds out, bad things will happen.

Emotional Support Animal Laws By State

Below is a quick comparison of the laws in some states that relate to emotional support animals.

Emotional Support Animal Laws Florida

People with disabilities are entitled to reasonable accommodations for their ESA. This animal cannot be deemed a "pet" and will not incur any fees when other pets do - making it an affordable option.

Landlords, property managers, and community associations need to understand the law regarding tenant rights. Following this will avoid costly penalties in court and protect you from any fraudulent activity regarding the misclassification of pets, which has been on the rise lately.

Emotional Support Animal Laws California

The Fair Employment and Housing Act protects those who have an emotional support animal. This means that landlords cannot evict or restrict a renter because they have this type of pet, and the same goes for deposits on pets such as cats/dogs - it's illegal.

Landlords should allow renters with disabilities to keep pets as long as they have documentation from an experienced mental health professional certifying that they need their ESA.

ESAs are not allowed to fly on commercial airplanes. If you want to bring your ESA on the plane with you, you might be able to get it in a pet-safe carrier that is large enough for it. You will have to pay for the fee, and your pet would need to be small enough that it won't take up too much space in the carrier.

Many public places, including buses, trains, and cars, do not allow emotional support animals. Instead, only service animals and psychiatric animals are allowed in these places.

Emotional Support Animal Laws Virginia

Travel with your emotional support animal in Virginia; it is not as simple as you think. You have to check with the airline first to see if they allow emotional support animals on the plane. If they do, you need to get the ESA letter.

People with disabilities should not be discriminated against because they own an ESA or a guide dog. Employers cannot fire them or refuse to give them the job based on having an ESA.

However, the law does not require that the employer allows you to bring your ESA or guide dog to work. You can ask your employer, and if they agree, you might be able to show them a valid ESA letter from your mental health professional.

The Fair Housing Act says the landlord must allow a person to live with their ESA without additional pet fees. This law is federal, so it does not matter where you move or do your tasks as long as it is within Virginia or outside of Virginia.

Emotional Support Animal Laws New York

The Fair Housing Act states that emotional support animals are a reasonable accommodation for people with mental health conditions. If an ESA helps alleviate symptoms of your condition, and you have a letter from a licensed professional, your landlord can't refuse to rent to you because of your ESA.

It is illegal for employers to discriminate against people with mental illnesses. In addition, the Americans with Disabilities Act says that people with these illnesses can bring their ESA to work.

The Air Carrier Access Act says you can take your emotional support animal on planes. You don't need to pay extra fees for taking your emotional support animal with you on the plane. Airlines also have the right to refuse service if your ESA is aggressive or out of control.

Emotional Support Animal Laws Ontario

Under Ontario's Residential Tenancies Act, landlords cannot say no to pets. However, if you rent a condominium, the landlord can reject your pet.

Under the law, people with disabilities can bring their service animals on-campus housing. But emotional support animals are not included since they are not considered service animals.

Every Canadian-based airline must follow the Aircraft Accessibility for Persons with Disabilities Act voluntary code and the Air Transportation Regulations (ATR). This is important for people traveling with an ESA.

ESA owners need to be familiar with all the rules and regulations when traveling with their animals. Therefore, they should always read the airline policy on ESAs.

Emotional Support Animal Laws Georgia

The Air Carrier Access Act allows emotional support animals to be in the cabin of a plane. It does not matter if the airline does not usually allow pets. Some airlines will not accept reptiles, spiders, rodents, snakes, and sugar gliders.

According to the Fair Housing Act, landlords cannot discriminate against people with emotional support animals or service dogs. If you have an ESA, you are allowed to bring it to live with you, even if the housing has a no pets policy. You will need to provide a letter from your doctor stating why you need the ESA.

There are no laws for pets in the workplace, but a law protects people with mental health disabilities.

Emotional Support Animal Laws Michigan

Unfortunately, you cannot bring your emotional support animal onto the airplane without permission. Airlines have had many problems with unruly ESAs, so they are now not allowed in the cabin. The Air Carrier Access Act protects service dogs, but there is now a special rule for ESAs that requires them to be in a carrier that fits under your seat.

Michigan apartments are protected under the Fair Housing Act. This means that a landlord cannot discriminate or deny you access to a property. They also can't charge extra fees if you have an animal with you, and they can't deny access even if there is a no-pet policy.

Emotional support animals are not allowed in Michigan workplaces. Most workplaces do not allow employees to bring their animals to work unless they are trained to service animals. If you want to take your emotional support animal to work, you can show your employer your ESA letter.

How to Get an ESA Letter?

The process to get an ESA letter is fairly simple and easy. All you need are your symptoms screened, fill out an online questionnaire about any disabilities or mental conditions. A person with disabilities or mental health issues will likely qualify for the document as well as their pet.

Here are some steps that you should follow for getting an ESA letter.

  1. Fill out the brief questionnaire.
  2. Make your secure payment on our encrypted portal.
  3. Our support staff will answer any questions and put you in direct contact with a licensed mental health professional (LMHP).
  4. Your LMHP will verify your qualifications for an Emotional Support Animal Certification.
  5. Your ESA documentation will be prepared and sent to you via email or U.S. Postal Service.
  6. Keep your ESA letter in a safe place; it is a powerful tool that guarantees your legal rights.

People can get many types of ESAs, with the two most common being emotional support cats and dogs. RealESALetter.com provides valid ESA letters for traveling via planes, and as said by Mr. McCullough on CNN, we have a rigorous screening process, and only an LMHP signs the letter.

This does not include the people who want exotic animals as ESAs. Such animals are not allowed on planes, and they are also not suitable to be emotional support animals.

Who Can Qualify for an ESA Letter?

You only need to have a valid ESA letter for your emotional support animal. However, it must come with written documentation from an accredited, licensed mental health professional therapist.

Your family doctor or any other medical doctor isn’t eligible to write an ESA letter. In addition, it has to be a psychiatrist, psychologist, psychiatric nurse, licensed professional counselor, or other licensed therapist.

An individual suffering from psychological or emotional disabilities can qualify for an ESA. The following are some conditions that are eligible for an ESA letter.

However, you will need to pass the screening to get the letter. Emotional support animals shouldn’t be confused with traditional pets since they have a specific purpose and service to provide.

Although an emotional support animal can become a part of its owner’s family, there are laws you need to follow.

Please get in touch if you think that having an ESA could help with your emotional illness. RealESALetter.com can send you an ESA letter quickly and easily when you meet the requirements! So just contact us today.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can an emotional support animal be denied?

If an ESA poses a direct threat to the health and safety of others, then you are legally allowed to deny them access.

Are emotional support animals allowed everywhere?

Guide dogs and psychiatric service dogs are generally allowed to go anywhere in public. But, emotional support animals aren't as fortunate. For example, they cannot accompany their owners into restaurants or shopping malls.

Do you have to pay a pet deposit for ESA?

No, you don’t have to pay a pet deposit fee for an ESA. You can enjoy all of its benefits without any extra costs or expenses.

What's the difference between an emotional support dog and a service dog?

Emotional support dogs are not the same as service animals. They may be trained to provide emotional relief for their owners, but they're not individually trained with tasks or duties that help people who have disabilities - this is what sets them apart from regular "service" dogs.

What should an emotional support animal letter say?

Mental health professionals should include the following information on the ESA letter, such as:

  • Date of issuance
  • License type
  • Date of license
  • License number
  • State that issues the license