Need Help With Emotional Support Animal Discrimination?

Attorneys Available For Emotional Support Animal or Service Dog Housing Discrimination in .

Do you think you're a victim of Emotional Support Animal housing discrimination? If so, this article may help you better understand your options.

Persons with Disabilities.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) recognizes the need of some persons with disabilities for an assistance animal, and the legal obligation of housing providers to make reasonable accommodations to allow for such animals.

Persons with various types of disabilities may need an assistance animal in their home to have an equal opportunity to use and enjoy their housing. These disabilities may or may not be known or obvious to a housing provider.

What is an Emotional Support Animal?

Assistance animals do work, perform tasks, assist, and/or provide therapeutic emotional support for individuals with disabilities that affect major life activities. A trained service animal is considered an assistance animal. They are not pets and generally are animals commonly kept in the household.

Examples of tasks include guiding an individual who is blind or providing therapeutic emotional support with respect to an individual’s mental disability affecting a major life activity.

Housing providers may not exclude or charge a fee or deposit for assistance animals, including Emotional Support Animals and service animals.

Can as ESA be denied?

The Fair Housing Act (FHA) makes it unlawful for a housing provider to refuse to make a reasonable accommodation that a person with a disability may need in order to have equal opportunity to enjoy and use a dwelling.

Housing discrimination is conduct in which an individual or family is treated unequally when trying to buy, rent, lease, sell, or finance a dwelling based on certain ‘protected categories’ known as ‘classes’ like:

  • race
  • color
  • disability
  • religion
  • sex
  • national origin
  • or familial status [pregnant or presence of children under 18yrs of age].

Housing discrimination is often misidentified, ignored, or it just goes completely undetected.

Landlords are allowed to deny housing on the basis of legitimate business reasons. A few examples of this include credit history, income, references from past landlords, and past behavior, such as damaging property.

Don't Get Scammed with Emotional Support Animal Registration.

The assistance animal industry is rife with questionable business practices exploiting consumers, prejudicing the legal rights of individuals with disabilities, duping landlords, and generally interfering with good faith efforts to comply with the Fair Housing Act. Predatory vendors, ethically-challenged clinicians, and sketchy customers are readily, and all too easily, found across the Internet.

Says founder Chaz Stevens, "clients come to us burdened with turbo-charged anxiety, so why make their life worse?"

"Sure, anyone can string up a website peddling crappy, red-flag inducing, bot-generated garbage letters auto-signed by a schlocky therapist - just look at the first page of Google. It's no wonder why owners of those spammie websites go out of their way to hide their identities. And don’t get me started with Emotional Support Animal registration."

So, how do you avoid getting scammed? Here are a few simple rules to follow.

  • Does the vendor operate from a physical location, or are they operating out of a PO Box? Can you find them on Google Maps?
  • Call them up (800-372-4125 is our number) and speak to the someone. Ask them these questions - do you have a therapist who is licensed, practicing, and residing in your state. Who owns and operates your company? Chat with the owner.
  • Ask them how long they've been in business (our holding company is going on its 26th year).
  • Check out their reviews (we have loads going back on a decade now). Forget Trustpilot and hotpo reviews (they are easily faked and bought online from unscrupulous overseas operators).

READ: Learn About ESAD INT'L (ESADoggy).

Documentation from the Internet.

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, legitimate organizations such as ESAD Int’l and its team of licensed health care professionals ethically deliver services remotely. You’re going to connect with a nearby licensed provider, engage in one or more therapy sessions, and receive a letter of recommendation that’s been revised and upgraded thru the years.

Information Confirming Disability-Related Need for an Assistance Animal.

According to HUD, the following is the suggested guidance for confirming an individual’s need for an assistance animal.

  • Reasonably supporting information often consists of information from a licensed mental health care or medical professional, general to the condition but specific as to the individual with a disability and the assistance or therapeutic emotional support provided by the animal.
  • A relationship or connection between the disability and the need for the assistance animal must be provided. This is particularly the case where the disability is non-observable, and/or the animal provides therapeutic emotional support.
  • For non-observable disabilities and animals that provide therapeutic emotional support, a housing provider may ask for information to conduct an individualized assessment of whether it must provide the accommodation under the Fair Housing Act. The lack of such documentation in many cases may be reasonable grounds for denying a requested accommodation.

What Types of Pets Can Be an Emotional Support Animal?

Emotional support dogs are the most common type of comfort animal. Cats, rabbits, and other common household pets are also allowed. HUD’s FHA 2020 rules against reptiles, and we follow their guidance, not permitting such creatures to be approved in our network.

Is a Registry Site or Emotional Support Animal Vest Required?

No, that’s a scam and the reddest of red flags. Run, don’t walk, away from sites that want to register your animal.

That said, many ESA owners choose to outfit their animal, clearly distinguishing it from an ordinary pet. An ESA ID card is also a common item these individuals make it a point to have on hand. We’ve found this card helps lower the handler’s overall stress level.

How Does ESAD Int'l Protect My Privacy?

Your privacy is our top concern. We’re a HIPAA-compliant online mental health care platform, which means we follow the same privacy laws as a brick and mortar location. ESADoggy just simplifies the experience by delivering exceptional mental health care on your terms.

ESAD Int'l offers virtual appointments with licensed professionals that are separate from your employer and insurer. So, you can find the help you need from the comfort and privacy of your own home.

Why Choose Us?

This is a labor of love; going on eight years now, not a single complaint, rated BBB A+ flawlessamazing reviews, all operated with world-class ethics. It takes a Herculean effort to deliver remote ethical, compassionate, empathetic care that passes regulatory muster.

Our clients enjoy amazing 24/7 customer support, state of the art data privacy protection, and an extensive therapeutic network.

For those in financial need, we offer pro-bono assistance animal assessments. Restrictions apply.

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Emotional Support Animals Notice For Emotional Support Animals And Service Animals

Over the years, HUD’s Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity (FHEO) has issued guidance clarifying the rights and obligations under the FHA regarding assistance animals. Here, HUD’s best practices includes information regarding:

  • The difference between assistance animals and pets;
  • The types of accommodations that a housing provider may need to grant, such as exceptions to no-animal policies, deposits, or fees that are ordinarily charged for animals;
  • Assessing whether an animal is a service animal or an assistance animal other than a service animal (sometimes referred to as a support animal);
  • Permissible inquiries regarding assistance animals, particularly if the individual’s disability or disability-related need for an animal is non-obvious or non-observable, or not otherwise known to the housing provider;
  • The type of verification and documentation that a housing provider may request regarding an individual’s disability and disability-related need for an assistance animal;
  • Descriptions of the typical types of assistance animals, an example of a unique type of animal that provides disability-related assistance and guidance on handling requests involving more than one animal; and
  • Other best practices regarding reasonable accommodations for assistance animals.

What’s Covered Under The Federal Housing Act

HUD’s guidance applies only to housing, including public and common use areas of housing developments and facilities covered by the FHA, including apartments, condominiums, cooperatives, single family homes, nursing homes, assisted living facilities, group homes, and other types of housing covered by the FHA. Some types of short-term temporary shelter are not covered by the FHA.

Housing Exceptions Under the Federal Housing Act

There are four major exceptions to the Fair Housing Act:

  1. Single family homes, as long as:
    • The home is also rented or sold by the owner;
    • The owner does not own more than three homes at a time;
    • The advertising for the sale or rental was not discriminatory; and
    • The owner did not use a real estate or broker
  2. Rooms or units in a building with a maximum of four units, as long as the owner is living in one of those units;
  3. Rooms or units owned either directly or indirectly by a religious organization. This is true only if preference is only given on the basis of that membership, and membership in that religion is not restricted by race, color, or nationality; and
  4. Rooms or units owned by a private organization for non-commercial use, as long as preference is only given on the basis of membership to that organization and is not restricted by race, color, or nationality

Fair Housing Act Complaints

Fair Housing Act complaints involving requests for reasonable accommodation for Emotional Support Animals and service animals. account for nearly 30% of all FHA complaints, where the majority of those complaints involve the denial of a reasonable accommodation to a person who has a physical or mental disability that the housing provider cannot readily observe.

The Proliferation of Fake Documentation Bought Online

The online sale of so-called “certificates” for Emotional Support Animals and service animals. is often a scam. According to HUD, “documentation from websites that sell certificates, registrations, and licensing documents and animal gear for animals to anyone who answers certain questions or participates in a short interview and pays a fee is not sufficient to reliably establish that an individual has a non-observable disability or disability-related need for an assistance animal.”

Do You Think You’ve Been Discriminated

If you feel you have been discriminated against, it is important that you begin by filing a complaint with the Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity. Complaints must be filed within one year of the last date of the alleged discrimination. Unfortunately, most complaints don’t make it past the filing stage.

Can a Fair Housing Complaint Help Me

A fair housing complaint is a federal administrative process investigated HUD. This is not a state or local civil issue, so Courts are bypassed, thereby making participation easier.

HUD has the authority to take depositions, issue subpoenas and interrogatories, and compel testimony or documents – so a fair housing complaint is feared by any property owner, landlord, property management firm, RE Agent, mortgage broker or anyone involved in the housing process.

HUD can issue a charge of discrimination against anyone, or any organization, if reasonable cause exists to believe discrimination has occurred. A Charge of Discrimination could lead to serious consequences which are almost always avoided by negotiating a mutually agreeable settlement called a Conciliation Agreement.

Simply put- a well-executed fair housing complaint can yield tangible results for any victim of housing discrimination because of the federal leverage is real.

There are also no direct costs associated with filing a fair housing complaint.

Following an investigation, the FHEO will issue its findings, and if required, HUD or the Department of Justice will take legal action against the violator.

Do I Need Attorney for Help with Housing Discrimination Laws

Although an attorney is not required to file a complaint with HUD, you may want to consult with a well-qualified and knowledgeable lawyer who specializes in housing discrimination. The attorney can assist you with:

  • Writing, evidencing, and filing your Fair Housing complaint
  • Assist in the negotiation of a settlement or resolution
  • Provide you with fair housing education as well as counseling

Additionally, they can represent you in a court of law as needed.

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