When Can A Landlord Legally Reject An Emotional Support Animal?

By PropertyClub Team
Oct 28th 2022
An emotional support animal (ESA) is a pet that provides relief and companionship to people struggling with some sort of mental health issue. Even if a landlord doesn’t allow regular pets in their building, they must allow emotional support animals as long as the owner has gotten the proper certification. But there are certain exceptions to this rule that let landlords deny ESA under specific circumstances.


Here is a look at whether or not it is legal to deny an ESA.

hash-markWhen Can a Landlord Deny an ESA?

The most common circumstances under which a landlord can legally reject an emotional support animal are if the animal is dangerous or if the request for the ESA is unreasonable. The definition of “reasonable” in this instance means that the animal is well cared for and does not infringe on the rights of other tenants. But, here are a few scenarios where a landlord could rightfully deny an emotional support animal.

1. The Pet is Dangerous

Landlords can reject an ESA if the animal is dangerous. Specifically, if the pet has a history of attacking other people or exhibiting behavior that is a threat to others, the landlord may deny the request.

2. Allergies

Another instance for which a landlord can legally reject an emergency service animal is allergies. If the landlord or someone else in the building is allergic to a particular type of pet, this would be considered infringing on the rights of others and may be grounds for denial.

3. Housing the Animal is Physically Unreasonable 

If your ESA requires special accommodations that are not realistic for the building, the landlord may deny your request. For instance, if your ESA is a miniature horse, you may have difficulty renting.

4. Your ESA Letter is Out of Date

If it’s been more than a year since you’ve obtained your ESA letter or the doctor's contact info who wrote it is not up to date, your landlord may require you to renew it. If you refuse or cannot get it updated, your ESA may be denied.

hash-markIs It Illegal To Deny an ESA?

Yes, it is illegal to deny an ESA unless the landlord has a valid reason. According to the Fair Housing Act, landlords and property managers must make reasonable accommodations for those who have a certified disability.

Many landlords will require an ESA letter, which is an official document drafted by a doctor or mental health professional that certifies the owner’s mental illness and the need for an emotional support animal. But there are circumstances when the request to house an emotional support animal may be deemed unreasonable, which means the landlord can deny the request. 

hash-markWhen Can a Landlord Legally Reject an ESA Bottom Line

The bottom line is that landlords cannot reject an ESA without a valid reason. However, there are specific times when landlords can deny an emotional support animal, for example, if the animal poses some sort of threat or could do damage to the property. But if a landlord tries to deny an emotional support animal because they don't want pets in the building, that is illegal.