Authored by Edward Mason

New Housing Rules for Emotional Support Animals - 2021 Guide

The US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) released new housing laws for emotional support animals in 2020. Now the 2013 laws are redundant. Before giving an ESA letter for housing to your landlord, you should read this article. It briefly explains the new laws that are necessary for you both to follow.




  • No Restriction on the Breed or Size of the Pet



Similar to 2013’s rules, the 2020’s rules have stated that the landlord can not limit the choice of an emotional support animal. The landlord is supposed to accept any animal that their tenant is using for emotional support. They can not pose any restrictions of breed, size, voice, etc. 


Moreover, the landlord can not charge additional rent or other charges from the tenant to keep an ESA. This only remains till the animal doesn’t cause any damage to the people or property. In that case, the owner of the animal will be liable to pay the damages. 



  • Request Response in 10 Days



Previous rules mentioned that the landlord should not cause an extended delay in responding to the request for keeping an ESA. The new laws have mentioned the allowed time period for giving a response. 


The landlord must respond to an ESA-keeping request within ten days. The ten days start after the tenant provides an ESA letter to the landlord. 



  • No Additional Documents Required



Some landlords used to ask the medical professional to provide additional details about the medical conditions of their tenant. Some of them also asked the professionals and the tenants to sign extra guarantees and declarations. 


The laws issued in 2020 have strictly mentioned that no additional documents can be asked from the tenant. So instead, the tenant will provide only an authorized ESA letter.



  • The Procedure of ESA Requests



The new housing rules for ESA have explained how a tenant can request them to keep an ESA. The tenants can request ESA from their landlords verbally or in writing.


A close person could also make the ESA request to the tenant if they authorize them. This person requesting on the tenant’s behalf should be residing with them in the house also. 



  • When to Get an ESA



You can make an ESA request before or after getting an ESA. Ideally, you should request your landlord before getting an emotional support animal if you don’t already have one. However, if you already have an animal or bought it, it is considered good faith to inform your landlord as soon as possible. 



  • Types of Prefered Emotional Support Animals



Before 2020, a clear list of preferred emotional support animals was not available. Now HUD has issued a list in this regard. In addition, most domesticated animals can be kept as ESAs. These include cats, dogs, hamsters, fish, birds, turtles, rodents, etc. 


This is only a preferred list. If animals other than these do not pose a risk to humanity, they can also be kept as emotional support animals. 



  • The Well-being of the ESA is the Owner’s Responsibility



Though ESAs are kept for the support of their owners, they also have rights. Both HUD and animal rights associations have mentioned that the owners of such animals are responsible for taking care of them. 


Moreover, if the animals cause any damage to another person or property, their owner will be held responsible. All in all, the owners have to ensure the well-being of the animals and their surroundings.



  • Illegitimate Ways of Qualifying for ESA



No other certification other than an authorized ESA Letter can be used to qualify an emotional support animal. ESA vests, registrations, badges, and other such things are unlawful means. 



  • Usability of Online Therapists and Services for ESA Letters



Multiple service providers offer you online negotiations with a medical professional for acquiring an ESA letter. The new housing rules have formally validated the use of online professionals. You can use any legitimate service to get a letter from medical professionals available online. 


Next time you move into a new place and want to bring along your emotional support animal, give these rules a read. They will help you better to understand your rights and duties. 



Useful Resources:


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Reasons to have Airedale Terrier as an ESA - 2021 Guide


Can Chow Chow Dog Breed be kept as an ESA? Guide


How To Use CBG CBD Oils For ESAs? - 2021


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