How to get an ESA Letter For Housing?

How to get an ESA Letter For Housing?

Updated on January 22, 2024
Written by ESA Pet Staff

fact checked by Stephane Bandeira

Most people treat their pets like valued members of the family. Pets provide us with companionship and unconditional love, bringing joy to our lives. We do everything possible to ensure their well-being, and they do the same for us. 

While a loyal companion brings us joy and happiness, the health benefits are far more vast. For example, many pets are registered as emotional support animals (ESAs) and help to reduce the effects of anxiety, depression, PTSD, ADHD, and more. For those with mental health concerns, an emotional support animal can serve as a vital lifeline. 

Learning that a landlord has a strict no-pet policy can be devastating. Luckily, a valid ESA letter affords you and your emotional support animal certain protections for housing. 

This article covers everything you need to know about ESA letters for housing. 

ESA Letters for Housing

An ESA letter is a legal document that a licensed mental health professional issues. It proves that your pet is registered as an emotional support animal and helps you cope with an emotional or mental condition. 

Under the Fair Housing Act (FHA), an emotional support letter for housing guarantees that your ESA can live with you, regardless of any pet policies or fees set forth by the housing provider. The ESA letter shows that you have a mental or emotional disability, and your emotional support animal is a part of your treatment plan. 

An ESA letter for housing is the only proof you need under the Fair Housing Act. As long as the letter was prescribed by a mental health professional licensed in your state, the housing provider cannot deny your request to live with an emotional support animal. However, landlords and property managers have the right to request this evidence before permitting accommodations for your emotional support animal.

It’s important to note that your ESA letter for housing should be renewed annually. Housing providers can request an updated letter every year. Plus, showing up with an emotional support letter several years old may raise some suspicions.

ESA Letters for Housing and the Fair Housing Act

The Fair Housing Act (FHA) is a federal law that protects buyers and renters from discrimination based on disability. It defines a disability as any physical or mental impairment substantially limiting an individual’s ability to enjoy one or more life activities.

In the past, many landlords and property managers hesitated to approve a tenant requesting accommodations for their emotional support animal. These tenants were often denied such requests due to the strict no-pet policies put in place by the housing provider.

The Fair Housing Act helped to advance housing opportunities in recent years and now plays an instrumental role in helping individuals with emotional support animals find appropriate housing. 

The legislation requires landlords, property managers, and all housing providers to provide reasonable accommodations to those with emotional support pets. Even if the building has strict no-pets policies, the housing provider must accept the emotional support animal and cannot charge additional fees for permitting the ESA.

Animals Eligible for an ESA Letter for Housing


When it comes to emotional support, pets, and housing, there are some exceptions that you should know about.

Not all animals qualify as emotional support animals under the FHA. According to the US Department of Housing, only domestic animals can become emotional support pets or emotional support animals. Exotic animals do not meet the requirements necessary. 

Common emotional support animals include dogs, cats, birds, fish, hamsters, rabbits, and other small animals. For ESAs considered unique, like birds and rabbits, the housing provider may ask for additional documentation to ensure the animal is well-behaved and well-trained. 

Who Can Provide an ESA Letter for Housing?

A licensed healthcare professional in your state must issue a legitimate ESA letter for housing. For example:

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Primary care physician


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Social worker


If you want to expedite the process and get an ESA letter for housing quickly, work with a reputable ESA letter provider like ESA Pet

ESA Pet’s network of licensed mental health professionals can get you an ESA letter for housing as soon as possible. 

Qualifying Conditions for an ESA Letter for Housing

To qualify for an ESA letter for housing, you must be diagnosed with a mental or emotional disability by a licensed mental health professional, and the emotional support animal must be part of your treatment plan. 

Numerous emotional and mental conditions may make you eligible for an emotional support animal. Some of them include:

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Bipolar Disorder

Social Anxiety


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Bulimia or Anorexia



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You will need to have a consultation with a licensed mental health professional who will evaluate your emotional or mental struggles. The medical professional will “prescribe” an emotional support animal after the evaluation. This will then be your ticket to getting an ESA letter for housing.

How to Get an ESA Letter for Housing

Getting an emotional support animal letter for housing is reasonably simple. It only entails a few simple steps. Here’s how it works:

Choose an ESA Letter Provider


Several companies offer legitimate ESA letters for animals online. At, we pride ourselves on being one of the most reputable ESA letter providers in the United States.

We work with an extensive network of therapists that can issue valid ESA letters. These mental health professionals offer telehealth consultations, which make the process extremely fast, easy, and convenient.

 ESA Pet also promises to help you get an ESA letter for housing within 48 hours after a licensed mental health expert approves you.

Free Pre-Screening Online Assessment 


Before getting your ESA letter for housing, you must complete an evaluation to determine if you are a good candidate. This free pre-screening online assessment is entirely safe, secure, and confidential.

At, our pre-screening process takes less than three minutes. A few simple questions ask about your pet and mental health. They also help us match you with a therapist. 

Consult With a Medical Professional


After completing pre-screening, we will match you with a suitable mental health professional in your state for a live consultation. The evaluation is done online, so you don’t have to leave your house for an appointment. 

During the consultation, you will discuss your mental health condition with licensed mental health experts. They will then diagnose your mental or emotional disability and determine whether you need an emotional support animal. Upon approval, they will issue an ESA letter for housing. 

Receive Your ESA Letter


If you are eligible for an emotional support pet, the mental health expert will issue and sign an ESA letter. 

With ESA Pet, you can get your ESA letter within 48 hours after your evaluation. We can provide you with a digital copy of the letter.

Get your Official ESA Letter Consultation from a licensed therapist.

Get ESA Letter Now

Legitimate ESA Letter for Housing

After you get the ESA letter, you must ensure all the details are accurate. Some of the information that must be present in an ESA letter for housing include:

  • The provider’s letterhead, their contact information, and their license number
  • The tenant’s name (i.e. your name)
  • The type of emotional support animal that you need
  • Date and signature of the licensed mental health professional

This letter shows the landlord or property manager that you need an emotional support animal.

It will indicate an impairment limiting you from enjoying at least one significant life activity. It will also prove your need for an emotional support animal to help relieve the condition’s symptoms.

What’s Not Needed in an ESA Letter for Housing

Now that you know what must be present in an ESA letter for housing, you should also know some things that don’t need to be in the letter.

As a tenant, you have a right to confidentiality. This is especially true regarding the specific nature of the condition that qualifies you for an emotional support animal. In other words, you don’t have to provide any details of the mental or emotional disability that you may be suffering from. 

Furthermore, according to federal and state laws, landlords do not have the right to ask for specific details about your condition. They cannot request medical records or additional documentation beyond the ESA letter. Landlords can only call the healthcare provider listed on the letter to verify its legitimacy. 

Due to these protections, an ESA letter for housing will not disclose any details about your condition. While the letter may appear generic and impersonal, this is for your privacy. 

ESA Letters For Housing – Frequently Asked Questions

Here is a brief look at some of the questions that frequently come up regarding ESA letters for housing:

Where Can I Use an ESA Letter for Housing?

You can use ESA letters for housing in many places, including rental homes, apartments, condos, co-ops, and more. 

Those living in rentals can keep their emotional support animal, even in places with strict no-pet policies. None of these rules or regulations apply to holders of an official ESA letter issued by a certified medical professional.

When Should I Tell My Housing Provider About My Emotional Support Animal?

You can inform the landlord or housing provider about your emotional support animal before or after you move into the rental building. 

You do not have any legal obligations to disclose your emotional support animal in advance, but it may avoid complications down the road. 

Can a Landlord Kick Me Out Because I Have an Emotional Support Animal?

No. Under the Fair Housing Act, housing providers cannot deny an ESA letter for housing. If you submit a legitimate ESA letter to your landlord, they are legally obligated to accommodate your emotional support animal.  

Can a Landlord Charge Any Fees for My Emotional Support Animal?

No. According to the Fair Housing Act, emotional support animals are not considered pets, restricting housing providers from imposing specific fees. While your landlord may charge other tenants pet deposits or monthly pet fees, they cannot charge additional costs for accommodating emotional support animals. 

How Long Does My ESA Letter Last?

It’s advised that an ESA owner renew their ESA letter every year. Technically, an ESA letter over a year after being issued is no longer considered valid and may be denied by housing providers and other entities. For this reason, your landlord may request that you renew your ESA letter annually.

 Will My Landlord Verify My ESA Letter?

This will vary depending on the landlord and whether they take the time to do their due diligence. 

However, all housing providers can contact the licensed mental health professional listed on your ESA letter. The professional’s license number and contact information will be available in the letter. 

While they cannot ask about your medical condition, they can ask about the letter’s legitimacy without violating any privacy law

Is an ESA the Same as a Service Animal?

No, there are differences between an emotional support animal and a service animal. ESAs come in all shapes, sizes, and breeds. They are not required to have any specific training and do not need to perform tasks that help with their owner’s disability. 

On the other hand, service animals are individually trained to do work or perform tasks directly related to their handler’s disability. For example, guide dogs perform tasks for people who are blind and visually-impaired. 

However, no clear distinctions exist between emotional support animals and service animals mentioned in the Fair Housing Act. This means all assistance animals are afforded the same protections under the FHA.

Final Considerations

The Fair Housing Act emerges as a key player, ensuring that those with ESAs can coexist with their companions, even in residences with stringent no-pet policies. The legitimacy of an ESA letter issued by qualified healthcare professionals stands as a potent instrument, affirming the integral role of the emotional support animal in the individual’s treatment plan. Notably, the annual renewal of ESA letters is a crucial step to maintain their legal validity and uphold the rights granted by housing providers.

While exploring details surrounding ESA letters for housing, this article offers practical insights, addressing common queries and elucidating the distinction between emotional support animals and service animals. By delineating actionable steps, we empower individuals navigating the complexities of obtaining accommodations, providing a comprehensive understanding of the legal framework, eligible animals, and the confidentiality safeguards inherent in ESA letters.