Before you buy an emotional support animal letter.
With so many choices and options available, how do you know which online ESA company is right for you? We used to publish a list of common mistakes, but after reviewing 100+ sites, the answer is ... nearly all are bogus.
Unfortunately, there's a good chance you're going to get scammed, so be sure to review our blacklist.
The dangers of buying counterfeit emotional support animal letters aren’t always obvious. There are economic impacts, legal implications, and other risks that are important for you to know before making a purchase. Counterfeiters don’t care about your well-being. They just want to make a profit.
Sure, we could sell a $79 "ESA letter," but we don't, and do you want to know why?
HUD's New Guidance
Says HUD, "Some websites sell certificates, registrations, and licensing documents for assistance animals to anyone who answers certain questions or participates in a short interview and pays a fee. Under the Fair Housing Act, a housing provider may request reliable documentation when an individual requesting a reasonable accommodation has a disability and disability-related need for an accommodation that are not obvious or otherwise known. In HUD’s experience, such documentation from the internet is not, by itself, sufficient to reliably establish that an individual has a non-observable disability or disability-related need for an assistance animal."
"By contrast, many legitimate, licensed health care professionals deliver services remotely, including over the internet. One reliable form of documentation is a note from a person’s health care professional that confirms a person’s disability and/or need for an animal when the provider has personal knowledge of the individual."
Their answer must include:
- Multiple clinical care sessions.
- Ongoing treating relationship.
- One session does not constitute an active treating relationship.
- Therapist's personal knowledge of your disability and disability-related need for an assistance animal.
Pro-tip: If you see no mention of HUD's FHEO 2020 guidance on the agency's website, that's a good indicator they're just selling you a "letter for a fee."
Doing Your Due Diligence.
If you're seeking online help (see if you and your pet might qualify) with your assistance animal, you can avoid problems by making sure you can answer "yes" to the following, otherwise, your accommodation request will very likely be denied.
|YES||Clinician resides and practices in your state.|
|YES||You completed a standardized intake exam.|
|YES||Clinician has personal knowledge of your disability.|
|YES||You've engaged in multiple therapeutic sessions.|
|YES||You have an active therapeutic relationship.|
|YES||You disclosed animal at lease signing.|
|YES||You did not submit an "ESA certificate or registration."|