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Generally, landlords are aware of the value of emotional support animals and the housing laws that back them, such as the Fair Housing Act (FHA). Under the FHA, ESAs are acknowledged as essential accommodations, guaranteeing you equal access to housing without discrimination. However, despite the protection provided by the FHA, some landlords may still choose not to permit ESAs on their premises.

This can lead to challenging situations when you’re seeking appropriate accommodations. However, if your landlord denies housing or imposes restrictions despite having a legitimate ESA Letter, you can take legal action against them. Denying accommodation could be considered a violation of the FHA.

While the FHA mandates reasonable accommodations for individuals with disabilities, it’s essential to approach the situation sensitively. Understand both your rights and the landlord’s perspective. Furthermore, you can do certain things before taking the help of legal authorities.

Does Your ESA Letter Get Rejected?

Before Taking Legal Action Against My Landlord, What Things Should I Consider?

Before taking legal action, there are several things you can do. You can attempt to convince your landlord and educate them about ESAs or ESA laws, among other options. Let’s discuss these considerations in detail.


Ensure you have a legitimate ESA Letter from a licensed healthcare professional verifying your need for an emotional support animal. This letter is crucial documentation of your need for accommodation.

Communication with Landlord

Talk with your landlord and discuss the necessity of the accommodation. Sometimes, a landlord’s hesitation might be from misinformation or lack of understanding. When approaching your landlord, being respectful and providing clear and concise information about your situation is essential.

Consultation with Professional

If communication fails, consider seeking legal advice. Consult an attorney who specializes in housing law. They can guide you through the necessary steps for your rights and potentially initiate legal action.

What Legal Steps Should I Take If I Believe The Rejection Is Discriminatory?

If you feel your landlord violates Fair Housing rights, you can consider filing a complaint with HUD (United States Department of Housing and Urban Development). The HUD is responsible for enforcing the Fair Housing Act.

Here’s how you can file a complaint with HUD.

Gather Documentation

Collect all relevant documentation, including evidence of discriminatory actions, legitimate ESA letters, and any other supporting materials that demonstrate your case.

Complete the Complaint Form

Visit the HUD website or contact your local HUD office to obtain the complaint form. The form will require you to provide details about your discrimination.

Submit the form

Once completed and attached the necessary documentation, submit it to your local HUD office or online.


After receiving your complaint, HUD will review your complaint and may investigate the matter. This could involve contacting your landlord and interviewing witnesses.


Depending on the outcome of the investigation, HUD may take various actions. If they find evidence of discrimination, they will help you to live with your ESA.

My Landlord Warned Me To Wear My ESA Service Vest Or ID Number. Is It Necessary?

Response: Currently, no federal laws state that ESAs are required to wear a vest or have a form of identification. It’s completely optional. The decision to put a vest on your dog is yours. Some pet owners choose to use vests or harnesses to identify their dogs as support animals. These vests help create awareness and ease interactions in public spaces.

Can The Landlord Reject My ESA Request Based On The Breed And Size Of My Animal?

Response: The Fair Housing Act argues that housing providers or landlords cannot apply breed, size, or weight restrictions to assistance animals. If you have a disability and require an emotional support animal, the landlord is legally obligated to accommodate your needs, even if their usual pet policies might have restrictions. The focus is on the function of the animal and its ability to assist you with your disability rather than its specific breed, size, or weight.

Can My Landlord Request A Pet Fee Or Deposit For My ESA?

Response: According to the Fair Housing Act (FHA), assistance or support animals are typically exempt from pet fees or deposits. The FHA recognizes ESA as a reasonable accommodation for individuals with disabilities, and as such, they are not considered pets.

Landlords must make reasonable accommodations for tenants to ensure they have equal access to housing. Remember, while pet fees and deposits are waived for assistance animals, you are still responsible for any damages caused by your animals.
n its specific breed, size, or weight.

Can My Landlord Allow My Need For Multiple Emotional Support Animals?

Response: Yes, your landlord can allow your need for multiple ESAs. The FHA will enable you to live with your multiple ESAs if necessary for your well-being.

However, You’ll need to provide documentation that clearly outlines the necessity of having multiple ESAs to alleviate the symptoms of your disability. This documentation should explain how each ESA contributes to your overall well-being.

When Can The Landlord Turn Down My ESA Request?

Response: There are certain circumstances under which a landlord might have the legal right to restrict an ESA, including aggressive behavior of the ESA, a direct threat, and the creation of a financial burden for the building. Let’s discuss these circumstances more clearly:

Direct threat

If your ESA poses a direct threat to the health or safety of other tenants, a landlord may have grounds to restrict the ESA. This determination must be based on evidence and not on prediction.

Property damage

If your ESA causes any damage to the property, your landlord can ask you to leave. Moreover, you are solely responsible for the damage caused by your ESA and must pay it.

Undue financial hardship

If accommodating the ESA would impose an undue financial burden on the landlord, they might be able to place restrictions. However, landlords must provide clear evidence of the hardship.

Fake ESA letter

If your ESA letter is not from a licensed healthcare professional and does not confirm the need for an ESA, the landlord can restrict your ESA.