ESA (Again)
Click here for Top Ten Discussions. CLICK HERE for Q & A Homepage
Receive Free Rental Owner Updates Email:  
MrLandlord Q & A
ESA (Again) (by Annie [IN]) Jun 24, 2019 7:13 PM
       ESA (Again) (by JR [ME]) Jun 24, 2019 7:47 PM
       ESA (Again) (by BRAD 20,000 [IN]) Jun 24, 2019 11:04 PM
       ESA (Again) (by plenty [MO]) Jun 25, 2019 7:28 AM
       ESA (Again) (by Barb [MO]) Jun 25, 2019 8:43 AM
       ESA (Again) (by Barb [MO]) Jun 25, 2019 8:44 AM
       ESA (Again) (by JKJ [MA]) Jun 25, 2019 9:20 AM
       ESA (Again) (by S i d [MO]) Jun 25, 2019 9:31 AM
       ESA (Again) (by WMH [NC]) Jun 25, 2019 10:02 AM
       ESA (Again) (by John... [MI]) Jun 25, 2019 12:21 PM
       ESA (Again) (by Annie [IN]) Jun 25, 2019 2:08 PM
       ESA (Again) (by bet [MA]) Jun 25, 2019 4:00 PM
       ESA (Again) (by Vee [OH]) Jun 25, 2019 6:41 PM
       ESA (Again) (by Scott [IN]) Jun 25, 2019 9:20 PM
       ESA (Again) (by Scott [IN]) Jun 25, 2019 10:17 PM
       ESA (Again) (by John... [MI]) Jun 26, 2019 9:15 AM
       ESA (Again) (by Still Learning [NH]) Jun 26, 2019 10:03 AM
       ESA (Again) (by John... [MI]) Jun 26, 2019 12:33 PM
       ESA (Again) (by Barb [MO]) Jun 27, 2019 8:18 AM
       ESA (Again) (by annie [IN]) Jun 27, 2019 2:25 PM

Click here to reply to this discussion.
Click Here to send this discussion to a friend

ESA (Again) (by Annie [IN]) Posted on: Jun 24, 2019 7:13 PM

We have a tenant in one of our apartments that recently inquired about getting a dog. We sent them our pet policy and the requirements, $250 extra deposit, $25 per month pet rent, a renters policy that names us as an additional insured, an alternate custodian in case they become incapcitated in any way (hospital stays), plus the usual wording for, spay and neuter, no dog breeding on the grounds, cleaning up after the animal and keeping it on a leash, etc; they have now declared they have a service animal!

Pretty sure they are trying to circumvent our Pet policy. What can we LEGALLY require of them? Can we ask for a letter from a LOCAL doctor; they did provide a "certificate" from 'USAR" -- we Googled it, and it looks like one of those places anyone can get a "certificate" for a fee. The Certificate copy that they e-mailed us says the dog is an ESA.

Can we require them to obtain an insurance policy for any damages that the dog causes?

Do they have to follow the other requirements, such as leashes, spay and neuter, alternate custodian, etc.?


ESA (Again) (by JR [ME]) Posted on: Jun 24, 2019 7:47 PM

SO they wanted a pet, then told you they were getting a service animal, then showed you a semi-bogus ESA certificate from an online disreputable agency.

Discuss your options with a local attorney. The advice offered here will, for the most part be irrelevant to your situation.

ESA (Again) (by BRAD 20,000 [IN]) Posted on: Jun 24, 2019 11:04 PM


Document how the asked about PET policy.

From MY Fair Housing director: the ONLY proof she will accept is the required LETER OF MEDICAL NECESSITY (LMN) from a doctor who has a history of treating this person and limited to 365 days date on the letter.

AFTER your res submits the request my reply can be (her words), if an LMN is not included,

ĎBased on the information provided the office cannot approve your request.í

Very important: I do not tell or teach them to submit an LMN.


ESA (Again) (by plenty [MO]) Posted on: Jun 25, 2019 7:28 AM

My guess is they already have bought the dog and just now figuring out how to bring the dog home. Yes require the pickup and lease clauses. Accept whatever you have to then dont renew. Take that Smarty Pants Workaround Tenant you'll going to need the dog sooner than you think - for comfort! --99.203.xx.xx

ESA (Again) (by Barb [MO]) Posted on: Jun 25, 2019 8:43 AM

If you are not subject to the Fair housing act, you donít have to allow even a service dog.

First, say, ďIím sorry you have been diagnosed with a disability. Please write us a letter detailing how your disability prevents you from quietly enjoying the home. If your disability is mental health related, please provide us with the letter of medical necessity from your mental health provider stating you have a mental health disability as diagnosed by the DSM and require the assistance of a trained service animal. Then, please tell us what tasks the dog has been trained to do to assist you in mitigating your disabilities.

Your request to bring a service animal into the hospital me will be taken under advisement.Ē

ESA (Again) (by Barb [MO]) Posted on: Jun 25, 2019 8:44 AM

Stupid autocorrect.

ďYour request to bring a service animal into the home will be taken under advisement

ESA (Again) (by JKJ [MA]) Posted on: Jun 25, 2019 9:20 AM

As others have said, save all correspondence regarding the request for a pet. If you already donít have a policy that all correspondence from tenants be in writing, start 1. Require all documentation for a SD/ESA that you can legally request. If they provide all required documents your probably gonna have to allow it. If you end up with the tenant getting around your pet policy by claiming itís an ESA, and you think they are lying (which I think they are in this case) donít renew their lease when itís up. Side note, if your property is exempt from FHA laws you donít have to allow any animal (check your states laws if your unsure)

ESA (Again) (by S i d [MO]) Posted on: Jun 25, 2019 9:31 AM

It's part of reality: the ESA/service animal. I have no problem with people who have a legit need.

I do have problems with scammers and/or irresponsible ESA/service animal owners.

An ESA/service animal is not allowed to do damages to the property or annoy the neighbors. So once it has entered the premises, I suggest making at least a couple inspections: once a few days after the animal arrives, and then about 3-4 weeks later. Any sign of uncleaned filth or damage must be addressed immediately. Fix and bill the resident. If the animal is aggressive toward you, that COULD (note the conditional word) be grounds for removal, depending on how aggressive and if anyone else in the area complains about it.

Document, document, document!

And as always, a clever scammer may still get by with it. We are limited to what we can do in year 1. But year 2 can always come with a hefty rent increase, no reason given other than "this is what we want in rent...take it or move". Or a simple non-renewal with no reason given.

Assuming you have no rent control, etc.

ESA (Again) (by WMH [NC]) Posted on: Jun 25, 2019 10:02 AM

First of all, did they say Emotional Support Animal, Therapy Dog or Service Animal? BIG DIFFERENCE!!!!

ESA (Again) (by John... [MI]) Posted on: Jun 25, 2019 12:21 PM

What WMH said. We need to know if this is YOU confusing the terms (since you said both ESA and Service Animal) or if it is THEM confusing the terms.

What exactly did they tell you that they had? That determines your next step.

- John...

ESA (Again) (by Annie [IN]) Posted on: Jun 25, 2019 2:08 PM

Thanks for the input. First, we use BUILDIUM, and all correspondence needs to come through that venue from the residents. If, they don't have access to the NET, we require everything in writing from them. We save EVERYTHING! (Yeah for us).

Yes, they did inquire about a dog and wanted to know what they needed to do and they said nothing about service animal or ESA more than a month ago, just what they needed to do to have a "small dog". We sent them our pet policy and the steps they needed to take, along with an offer to send them the forms we require.

We followed up when we did not hear anything from them, to see if they were still in the mind to get a pet.

Yesterday, they drop the bomb on us. She did say 'SERVICE ANIMAL" in her e-mail, but the forms they attached (which were almost illegible -- taken with a cell phone), said 'ESA". They were from one of those mills that supply a "certificate" for a fee.

We did spend this morning researching everything we could on-line, and asked that they send a scanned copy so it was legible. In our research, we found out that they have to have a letter from their doctor, so when they send their "forms" back, we will respond with those were not acceptable forms forms. We won't tell them the next step -- let them spend a whole morning searching the internet.

We are documenting everything. If we end up having to accept this animal, we will start doing extra checkups on them and if there are damages caused by the dog, then we will bill them on the spot. I they don't pay the damages, any rent monies will go first to damages (also in our lease), and when they are delinquent, we will file for eviction.

If nothing else, when their lease comes up, we won't be renewing. It is in our lease that 30 days notice prior to the end of the term, either landlord or resident can not renew.

ESA (Again) (by bet [MA]) Posted on: Jun 25, 2019 4:00 PM

I requested that the a[applicant bring all ESA to the initial apt viewing and they asked what a ESA was. Then they figured it out and said they would be getting a letter from their doctor. Scammer

ESA (Again) (by Vee [OH]) Posted on: Jun 25, 2019 6:41 PM

Photo vet records is my starting place, then proceed as Barb mentioned - the prescription like any other last a year.

ESA (Again) (by Scott [IN]) Posted on: Jun 25, 2019 9:20 PM


If you choose (without cause) not to renew at the end of the lease, you must give 90 days notice in Indiana.

ESA (Again) (by Scott [IN]) Posted on: Jun 25, 2019 10:17 PM


If you choose (without cause) not to renew at the end of a 1 year lease, you must give 90 days notice in Indiana.

ESA (Again) (by John... [MI]) Posted on: Jun 26, 2019 9:15 AM

Note that a note from a "doctor" or a "prescription" is not actually required -- trying to require that can get you into trouble.

In general, a note from a "healthcare professional" is what you can ask for. It does not have to be an MD, unfortunately. Also, you may not require "photo vet records" unless that is required of all such animals by local law. If you don't have a local law regarding that and you deny an ESA because they don't have "photo vet records" (or ANY vet records for that matter), then you are likely in violation of the law.

Tread carefully here -- as you appear to be doing so.

Also, note that that "online mill" paperwork MAY be valid. Lots of them are. We don't like it, but the fact is that most of those online places just subcontract "healthcare professionals" to write LEGALLY ACCEPTABLE notes for such animals. Is it a scam? Yes, most likely. But does it meet the federal guidelines for the law? In most cases, yes, it does.

Deny only based on what the law allows -- not on what we think SHOULD be the law as landlords...

- John...

ESA (Again) (by Still Learning [NH]) Posted on: Jun 26, 2019 10:03 AM

John (MI) - Just curious of your thoughts on if they require additionally insured on renters policy and spay/neuter of all animals, are they still able to require that of an ESA? Or does the renterís policy and spay/neuter fall under additional $ (fee, pet rent) and therefor canít be required?

ESA (Again) (by John... [MI]) Posted on: Jun 26, 2019 12:33 PM

No, they may not require those things of an ESA, in my opinion, even if they require it of all animals. In fact, there has been specific guidance regarding spay/neutering and that it may not be required of Service or ESAs. I believe Barb mentioned this before and she knows the law even better than I do since she actually has one.

- John...

ESA (Again) (by Barb [MO]) Posted on: Jun 27, 2019 8:18 AM

It is a best practice that all the service dog training orgs agree on, that a service dog is spayed or neutered before being eligible for public access. Not a law, big difference. There are no rules about it for ESAs, since they are not to be given public access.

If your company policy and lease is to require renters insurance, then that is that. An animal is separate from the renters insurance requirement. You cannot require one BECAUSE they have an assistance animal (what the FHA calls them as a generic term).

ESA (Again) (by annie [IN]) Posted on: Jun 27, 2019 2:25 PM

Scott - never heard that you had to give 90 days when you are not renewing a lease in Indiana. We always thought that if the lease ends on June 30th, then you have to give notice on May 31st. Where can we find this rule on the 90 days?

Click Here to send this discussion to a friend
Report discussion to Webmaster

Subject: RE: ESA (Again)
Your Name:
Your State:

ESA (Again)
Would you like to be notified via email when somebody replies to this thread?
If so, you must include your valid email address here. Do not add your address more than once per thread/subject. By entering your email address here, you agree to receive notification from every time anyone replies to "this" thread. You will receive response notifications for up to one week following the original post. Your email address will not be visible to readers.
Email Address: