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Are emotional support animals protected under law?

Posted at 5:10 PM, Aug 31, 2018
and last updated 2018-09-01 00:06:11-04

Do landlords have to rent to tenants with emotional support animals?

Viewer Donna let me know she and her husband own rental property in Kingman with a 'no cat' policy.

He is extremely allergic and she says it "could pose a health risk to him when he enters the property."

She explains that a potential tenant says "I can't deny a person with an ESA (emotional support animal)..."

Service animals are protected by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).  They are allowed anywhere the public is allowed.  Emotional support or assistance animals are not trained to perform a task and don't have those same protections.

But when it comes to housing, there are some protections. While dogs and, in some case miniature horses, are the only animals legally considered service animals, there are no type of restrictions for ESA or assistance animals.  

According to the US Department of Housing and Urban Development, under the Fair Housing Act providers are obligated to make reasonable accommodations for people who have a disability and seek to live with an assistance animal.

However, a severe allergy could be considered unreasonable.  

Before making any decisions, I would check with the Arizona Department of Housing to make the determination of whether or not an allergy is a legally protected reason to deny a potential renter.

You can contact them, here.