Perhaps you want to get your dog certified as an emotional support animal and your landlord asks for a letter. Here is what you need to know.
Under the Fair Housing Act, individuals with a disability are protected and entitled to reasonable accommodation.
Landlords may however request proof that your dog is certified or a letter from a healthcare professional. If you need to provide a letter, you can start with one from yourself and see if that is enough to satisfy a landlord. The Fair Housing Act provides a template as follows;
[NAME OF BUILDING MANAGER]
Re: Reasonable Accommodation for my disability
Dear [BUILDING MANAGER NAME]:
I live at [ADDRESS] in [UNIT NUMBER] and have lived there since [DATE]. I am a qualified individual with a disability, as defined by the Fair Housing Amendments Act of 1988.
Our building’s rules state [XXX]. Because of my disability, I need the following accommodations: [LIST ACCOMMODATIONS]. A medical provider has prescribed this accommodation for my disability.
Please let me know what, if any, additional information you need from my health care provider in order to better understand my disability and the limitations it imposes.
Under the Fair Housing Amendments Act, it is unlawful discrimination to deny a person with a disability a reasonable accommodation of an existing building rule or policy if such accommodation may be necessary to afford such person full enjoyment of the premises.
Please keep this request for accommodation confidential, as required by federal law. Please contact me within the next ten days to discuss this important issue. I look forward to your response and appreciate your attention to this matter.
Submitting this letter may satisfy your landlord
You may also want to submit the letter in combination with a certificate for the animal, often referred to by landlord’s as the animal’s paperwork. You can obtain a digital service dog or emotional support certification to accompany your letter.
Sometimes a landlord will request or require a letter from a medical professional
This is to verify that the individual does require a service or support animal. This letter is not to validate the training of the animal, and as such, registries cannot provide this letter. It must be signed by a licensed medical professional, including a PCP, therapist, or even a social worker
Here is a template you can provide to your doctor to complete and sign
To Whom It May Concern,
________ is my patient. Based on the presenting symptoms and functional impairments, I have diagnosed [patient] with a mental health disorder that meets the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) criteria.
Due to his/her disability, [patient] has significant limitations coping with [______]. To help alleviate these difficulties, and to enhance his/her ability to function independently, I have prescribed [patient] to maintain an [EMOTIONAL SUPPORT ANIMAL/SERVICE ANIMAL]. The presence of this animal is necessary for [THE EMOTIONAL AND MENTAL HEALTH/OR EXPLAIN DISABILITY] of [PATIENT] because its presence will mitigate the symptoms he/she is currently experiencing. It is therefore necessary for [PATIENT] to maintain this animal in their home.
This should be written on professional stationary and/or include the professional’s license information and contact information.
With these documents a landlord should provide a reasonable accommodation
Reasonable housing accommodation allows the handler to live with the service animal or emotional support animal in their home and any pet fee would be waived. Please note, a trained service animal or emotional support animal should not cause a disturbance or damage to the property, inside the unit or in common spaces. Excessive barking or chewing damage is not excused and animals should be properly trained in good social behavior.
To identify your dog as a SERVICE dog OR EMOTIONAL SUPPORT ANIMAL, register below.
Register your dog as a Service Dog and obtain your digital certification immediately via email.REGISTER NOW