We all deserve to live stress-free and satisfying lives. However, most times, this isn’t usually the case as life throws us lemons here and there. Whenever a stressful situation arises, an emotional support animal can help you get through the rough times. Studies show that emotional support animals have helped many people find a natural and loving solution through anxiety, PTSD, and other psychological conditions. Sometimes, however, you may find yourself in the middle of a conflict involving your emotional support animal. This article details the three common conflicts over emotional support animals and how you can navigate through the situation.
1. Conflict of Interest between a Landlord and Tenant
Under federal law, emotional support animals have the right to housing. In a situation where you need to move to a new apartment, you need to inform the landlord about your emotional support animal. Even though the law is on your side, most times, this explanation doesn’t go well.
Although federal laws require that landlords waive any pet policy if submitted with a valid ESA letter, your landlord can lawfully deny your request for an ESA. Your landlord is within their rights to reject your ESA request if your animal poses a direct safety or health threat to them or any other tenants in the building.
Most times, however, many landlords will try to bully you into paying monthly pet fees or increase the rent because of your ESA. The landlord may also try to acquire your medical history records to validate their rental increase demands. You must understand that this request is a violation of your rights and the Fair Housing Standards Act.
On the flip side, your landlord may simply be unaware of any ESA laws. It is, therefore, up to you to try and educate them on the relevant laws that apply to your emotional support animal and the housing act. You can also ask them to get in touch with the U.S Commission on Civil Rights.
If you are the landlord in this situation, you need to ensure that you have a formal conversation with the U.S Commission on Civil Rights. A simple telephone call with the organization will be inadmissible in court if you get sued by any tenant regarding ESAs.
As the tenant, you can provide the landlord with an ESA letter from your doctor. An ESA letter proves that you truly need the animal with you at all times. The letter also mandates that your landlord acknowledge the presence of the animal on the premise and not have to charge you extra for it.
2. Conflict of interest between two tenants
Sometimes conflict may arise from other tenants complaining about your ESA’s presence in the building. The tenants may cite a health or safety risk with the most common factors being noise or animal allergies. As mentioned above, your ESA is guaranteed housing rights under the housing act.
This, therefore, means that a tenant isn’t legally allowed to force you out of your residence if your animal doesn’t pose any risk. If the conflict however escalates and heads to court, you may need to provide an ESA letter ascertaining that you need the animal to cope with your psychological problem.
You can also coordinate with your landlord to provide details of your arrival to the building. If you moved into the building before the complainant, then the law may be on your side. The documents may prove that you got approval from your landlord to move in with your ESA before the other tenant.
While the plaintiff may not necessarily have to move out, they may be asked to use different stairways to avoid coming into contact with your animal. The landlord may also be asked to install air purifiers in the building to help those with allergies cope with the animal’s presence.
3. The Question Of Whether ESAs Are Allowed On Flights And Other Public Places
The Air Carrier Access Act allows people with ESAs to bring them in flights without any additional charges. Some airlines may try to disregard this law and ask you to place your ESA under the cargo hold or completely prevent you from flying with the animal.
If you find yourself in such a situation, you should produce your ESA letter from a reputable mental health expert detailing why you need the animal with you. Without proper documentation, any airline can legally refuse your ESA entry into the cabin.
As to whether ESAs are allowed in public spaces such as hotels and restaurants, it all depends on the institution’s policies. While some of these areas may allow ESA’s in their premises, most of them have a no-pet-allowed policy.
Due to the temporary situation that is hotels and AirBnBs, most of these institutions won’t allow you to bring your ESA with you. You can, however, get in touch with these establishments ahead and let them know that your animal is well behaved. You should also produce the relevant documents if you’d like to increase your chances of bringing the animal with you.
If you’d like more information about ESA letters and guidelines, you can book an appointment with Mango Clinic and we will put you through with one of our doctors. We will assess your mental health situation and explain to you why you need an ESA.