This information will explain how housing providers can confirm a tenant’s ESA request while complying with HUD regulations.

What can you ask a tenant to prove if they need an ESA letter?

According to the Federal Laws of Fair Housing laws, an emotional support animal falls under the category of a service animal. Landlords are required to allow service animals in buildings that do not allow pets, with some exceptions. Also, housing providers cannot charge service animals fees or deposits.

Service animals can be of two types: service dogs and emotional support animals. Suppose it is obvious from the beginning that the dog has been trained to carry out work or perform activities for a tenant with a disability. In that case, the landlord is not authorized to raise any concerns regarding service animals.

Sometimes the function of service animals is apparent; in these circumstances, the landlord can ask two queries:

  • Is disability a reason for an animal?
  • What job or job functions has the animal been taught or trained to carry out?

The landlord cannot as further questions about the type of disability.

What types of documents are valid for emotional? Support animals?

Many qualified professionals with knowledge of the tenant’s mental health may submit an ESA letter. According to HUD, specific examples include:

  • psychologists
  • psychiatrists
  • physician’s assistants
  • nurse practitioners
  • social workers
  • licensed counselors and therapists
  • nurses

Items like ESA registrations, certificates from non-healthcare professionals, badges, and id cards are given to housing providers. These items are insufficient, and the landlord can ask for further documents from the tenant.

How can I verify that the tenant's ESA letter is genuine?

The housing provider should confirm that the ESA letter is signed by a licensed healthcare professional. In the majority of the ESA letters, only the therapist’s name, phone number, and license number of the therapist are often included. You can check the license number on the relevant state’s website for licensed professionals to see if the therapist has a current license. 

Source -