All too often, clients come to us with their hat in hand, seeking our assistance with fixing up “their broken ESA letter.”
And also all too often, their letter is based on the “Bazelon letter.”
Since 1972, the Judge David L. Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law has advocated for the civil rights, full inclusion and equality of adults and children with mental disabilities.
What’s the Bazelon letter, Chaz?
Good question, let me explain.
Suppose you set an appointment with your therapist, looking to have them assess your needs for an assistance animal. And like most therapists, nearly all of their schooling was focused on the mental health care aspect of their business, with little, to no (mostly no), emphasis on writing emotional support animal letters.
Which makes sense, right?
So, in the case of the therapist who needs to draft an ESA letter — but has never written one before — off to the Google they go, a few keystrokes and a click of the mouse, and voila!
They find the Bazelon letter.
No, before we tell you why you shouldn’t use the Bazelon letter, let’s say that a year or two ago, this letter would have been a slam-dunk. For the record, we’re a “fan” of Bazelon’s work. However, in 2018, in the real world, we have issues with the assistance animal template.
You see, the Bazelon letter is “almost good enough.”
Unfortunately, it does not contain certain written essential elements, and includes a specific component that completely throws everything off-kilter.
If you find yourself asking, Chaz, what are those “key elements,” I must demure … as, around here, no one learns for free, and we spend a king’s ransom keeping on the lights.
So, back to your therapist who issues a client an ESA letter based upon the Bazelon template.
When the dust settles, Bazelon’s letter will raise enough “red flags” and have intentionally opened the door between housing provider and therapist. According to our housing expert, 7/10 Bazelon letters might invite those communications.
And, to us, those communications are often dangerous. True, they’re allowed, but do you think it’s the best case scenario to have a Ph.D. educated psychologist, who merely googled and found the Bazelon letter, discussing housing related matters with a landlord or their legal team?
We find that problematic.
Contrast that to our assistance animal letters which contain every single written element, and by design, offer a bulwark against the need of therapist and landlord communications.
Also, we’ve got a ready arsenal of experience, expertise, and knowledge to deal with landlords.
To wit, should that need arise, our therapists have received training and are fully assisted by our knowledgeable team of housing experts.