Do You Have to Pay Pet Rent for an ESA?

Do You Have to Pay Pet Rent for an ESA?

do you have to pay pet rent for esa
Updated on June 5, 2024
Written by Stephane Bandeira

fact checked by Adrian Zapata

Do you have to pay pet rent for ESA? This is a common question for those who rely on Emotional Support Animals. ESAs provide essential support for individuals dealing with mental health issues.

Understanding the rules around pet rent for emotional support animals can be confusing. Many individuals wonder if their pets are exempt from extra fees associated with having them in rental properties. There are specific protections in place for ESAs under the law.

However, it’s not always straightforward. While landlords must accommodate ESAs, they might need specific requirements and written documentation. Let’s explore what you need to know about pet rent and ESAs to ensure a smooth rental experience. 

What is Pet Rent?

Pet rent is a recurring monthly fee that landlords charge tenants with pets. Unlike a one-time pet deposit, pet rent is a recurring charge. This fee helps cover the extra wear and tear caused by animals. Depending on the agreement, the rent is usually between $10 and $50 per month.

Pet rent differs from other pet-related charges like pet security deposit or cost. While pet deposits are refundable amounts paid upfront, pet rent is non-refundable. This fee ensures landlords have a steady income to address extra maintenance. 

Pet Rent and Related Fees Legal Status

The legality of pet rent and related fees, like pet fee or pet deposits, varies by location. Landlords can charge these fees but must follow local laws and regulations. Tenants need to understand their housing rights and check if their state has rules on pet rent and pet security deposit.

The rules are different for emotional support animals (ESAs). Under the Fair Housing Act, landlords must provide reasonable accommodation for ESAs. This means they cannot charge pet rent or pet deposits. Landlords can ask for documentation to verify the need for an ESA.

What is an Emotional Support Animal (ESA)?

An ESA is a pet that provides therapeutic benefits to those with mental health conditions. Unlike service animals, particularly service dogs, which are trained to perform tasks, ESAs don’t need training to perform tasks. They help by being there and providing support to those who need it.

Can a Landlord Deny an ESA?

Landlords can’t say no to an ESA if you have the right documentation. Under the legal proceedings, landlords must provide reasonable accommodation for tenants with ESAs. There are some exceptions, like single-family homes or homes rented without using a real estate agent.

Housing Benefits Provided by an ESA Letter

An emotional support animal letter can make a big difference when renting. Here are some key benefits:

No-Pet Policies

With an ESA letter, landlords must allow your support animal, commonly cats, even if they have a no-pets allowed rule. This ensures that tenants with emotional support animals can have the necessary companionship without violating rental agreements.

Breed and Size Restrictions

An ESA letter can help renters avoid breed and size restrictions that a landlord may impose. This allows tenants to keep their emotional support animals regardless of breed or size, ensuring they receive the support they need.

Improved Mental Health

Your ESA provides essential emotional support. This can help reduce symptoms of anxiety, depression, and other mental health disability. The presence of an ESA can also promote a sense of security and well-being for the owner.

Legal Protection

An ESA letter gives you legal backing under the FHA, protecting your rights. This legal protection ensures that landlords cannot discriminate against tenants with emotional support animals.

ESAs are Exempt from Pet Fees for Housing

According to the FHA, Emotional Support Animals and Service Dogs are exempt from any housing pet fees, deposits or pet rents.

Learn More about Pet Fees

Why Don’t You Have to Pay Pet Rent for an ESA?

You don’t have to pay pet rent for an ESA because the Fair Housing Act (FHA) protects a person with disabilities. FHA requires landlords to make reasonable accommodations for emotional support animals.

ESAs are necessary for the emotional well-being of their owner, unlike regular pets, which are for companionship. This means landlords cannot ask an owner to pay pet fees, such as pet rent or deposits, for ESAs.

The key difference between a regular pet and an ESA is their purpose and legal standing. Regular pets are for companionship and enjoyment.

ESAs offer psychological and physical support to a person with a mental health disability. Even their presence can help comfort the owner. To qualify as an ESA, a licensed professional should give a prescription for the animal.

The Fair Housing Act (FHA)

The FHA is a federal law that ensures individuals with disability have equal access to housing. Under this law, landlords must provide reasonable accommodation to a tenant with a disability to avoid discrimination. They must allow ESAs even if the property has a no-pet policy.

Landlords can request documentation to verify the specific needs of a companion animal. They cannot demand medical records or refuse to rent due to an assistance animal. The FHA aims to support residents with physical disability in maintaining supportive living environments.

Are You Qualified for an Emotional Support Animal?

To qualify for an ESA, you must have a diagnosed mental health condition. The conditions include:

A licensed mental health professional (LMHP) must determine that an ESA is necessary for your treatment to help ease symptoms.

If you believe you might benefit from an ESA, the first step is to speak with a licensed professional. They can check your condition and, if appropriate, provide a letter stating your need for an emotional support animal.

Emotional support animals (ESAs) can provide emotional support and psychological support. However, it’s essential to understand the responsibilities of having an ESA. You must ensure the animal’s behavior is appropriate and does not cause problems for other tenants.

After the qualifying process, if approved, the LMHP will issue an ESA Letter with all the details of your ESA. Then, you only need to present it to your landlord.


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How to Get an ESA Letter with ESA Pet

To obtain an ESA letter for your pet with ESA Pet is simple and easy. Here’s a quick guide to walk you through the process.

Fill Out Our Pre-Screening Form

First, fill out a quick pre-screening form. This survey has a few basic questions about your mental and emotional health. Your answers will help a licensed professional decide if you qualify for an ESA. The survey is confidential, so your information is safe and secure.

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Consult with a Licensed Mental Health Professional

After submitting the form, you need to submit the payment. After that, we will connect you with a licensed mental health professional in your state. They will check your situation and determine if an emotional support animal is right for you.

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Present the ESA Letter to Your Landlord

The licensed mental health professional will issue an ESA letter with their sign if you qualify. You will receive a digital copy within three business days. Present this letter to your landlord to ensure you receive the necessary accommodations for your ESA without extra fees or restrictions.

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Get your Official ESA Letter Consultation from a licensed therapist.

Get ESA Letter Now

Wrapping Up Pet Rent for ESAs

So, do you have to pay pet rent for an ESA? The short answer is no. The Fair Housing Act (FHA) exempts ESAs from pet rent, pet fees, and even breed restrictions.

This means if you have an ESA, you don’t have to worry about those extra costs that usually come with having a pet. However, you do need to have the right paperwork. Landlords can ask for a letter from a licensed therapist to verify your need for an ESA.

While you won’t pay pet rent, you’re still on the hook for any damage caused by your ESA. This keeps things fair for both you and your landlord.

Housing and urban development policies ensure fair access to housing for all. It includes those with emotional support animals. By understanding these policies, tenants and landlords can better know the requirements and protections in place for ESAs.

Contact ESA Pet for Personalized Assistance