[AUGUST 2020 UPDATE] HUD Issues New Guidance for Emotional Support Animal Letters

Updated August 11, 2020.

Letters With Integrity®

Expert Help For Getting An Emotional Support Animal Letter For Housing.

The Federal Trade Commission's investigation into fraudulent emotional support animal practices should concern our blacklist-suggested vendors, who typically provide consumers with a cut-rate and utterly spurious way to obtain counterfeit documentation.

Following HUD's Guidelines for Assistance Animals.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) 2020 guidance for rental housing requires clinicians to have active therapeutic care and personal knowledge of the tenant's disability when providing reliable written verification of their disability-related benefit for an assistance animal. Personal knowledge is knowledge of the type that health care providers ordinarily use for diagnosis and treatment.

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Thanks to HUD, for those with a legitimate disability-related need for an assistance animal, there's much better guidelines for getting an emotional support animal letter. In this article, we'll show you how to stay safe, avoid getting scammed, all while following the rules.

The following applies to US residents only in rental communities (apartments), HOAs, and condo associations.

The “Assistance Animals Notice” issued by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) explains certain obligations of housing providers under the Fair Housing Act (FHA) with respect to animals that individuals with disabilities may request as reasonable accommodations. These updates help address the gaps in past FHA rules which have been abused by those simply trying to bypass pet rules and fees, and others who have  been providing letters to exploited uneducated consumers.

Read: HUD Secretary Carson Seeks Federal Investigation Into ESA Websites.

FHEO 2020 - Assistance Animals Notice.

FHEO-2020-01 notice states that a housing provider may request reliable documentation to demonstrate a disability related need and that “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.” HUD now requires medical/mental health care providers to have “personal client knowledge” of the client's disability and an active therapeutic relationship.

Read: Our Provider Guidance on Documenting an Individual’s Need for Assistance Animals in Housing.

Therapeutic Relationship Required.

A therapeutic relationship is “the provision of medical care, program care, or personal care services, in good faith, for and with actual knowledge of, an individual’s disability and that individual's disability-related need for an assistance animal. Because a therapeutic relationship requires that care services be provided, in good faith, for an individual’s disability, documentation submitted on the basis of a single visit to a health care provider solely to obtain a “doctor’s note” will generally be rejected.

Equal Housing Opportunity.

We do not discriminate based on ancestry, race, color, religion, sex, disability, familial status, national origin or military status. We do not give legal advice or replace the language of HUD guidelines, but promote the spirit of Fair Housing.

Every day, to the best of our ability, through understanding and good faith implementation, we follow FHEO 2020 guidelines, strictly adhere to a multitude of state laws, and apply industry-accepted best practices.

We have no affiliation with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Long Overdue Changes.

“Everywhere you turn, you find sketchy clinicians, vendors, and clients. Fraud is rampant and appalling. Makes it tough for those of us who don't take shortcuts," said Chaz Stevens, CEO and former Deerfield Beach Housing Authority Commissioner.

“It’s about time Uncle Sam sent in the cavalry, hope they bring a big ol' fly swatter,” he added.

HUD Notice FHEO-2020

Download FHEO 2020

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