hand picking the right house property, text "Federal Fair Housing Act"

What Is Federal Fair Housing Act?

2 min read

The Federal Fair Housing Act of 1968 has become a breakthrough in the housing legislation. It has put to an end all the discriminating activities of landlords, lenders and renters of the private property and definitely protected the rights of disabled individuals.

Moreover, the Federal Fair Housing Act or FHAct for short, is one of the key documents that regulate housing rights of emotional support animal owners. Want to know what it covers? Go ahead.

What is the main goal of a Federal Fair Housing Act?

Blue house with judge gavel.
The FHAct protects individuals from housing discrimination

The key aim of this document is to protect individuals from any kind of housing discrimination. The main belief of the document is that any person disregarding of her personal characteristics can have the same right to rent or buy the private property. Generally, FHAct covers 7 points that make people suffer most from the injustice: race, color, origin, religion, gender, presence / absence of children, and disability (either physical or mental).

That is the last point we are especially interested in when we talk about emotional support animal (ESA) rights.

What does FHAct have to do with the ESA rights?

Cute German Shepherd lying on floor with laptop and books in and grey cat lying on couch
FHAct is the main law that regulates the housing rights of ESA owners

Federal Fair Housing Act is the main legislative piece that regulates the housing rights of ESA owners. Since only people with a disability are able to receive the ESA letter (the only official document that confirms their status), the animal is considered the part of the treatment for the disabled person and thus has a right to accompany its owner.

If you are the owner of the ESA, you have a full right to live with your pet in any type of a rented property, including (!) the one that has “no pet” policy. Moreover, you are not obliged to make any payments for your ESA, including:

  • pet deposits (money that you get back if your pet behaves well and does not ruin anything);
  • pet fees (standard fee for accommodating your animal).

All these payments vanish with the only presence of the ESA letter. In case your landlord does not know about these regulations, try to inform him / her or, if it does not work, file a complaint to the US Justice Dept.

Are there any exceptions from this rule?

The book "Renters` Rights", keys and glasses
There are cases when a landlord can refuse your accommodation request, even with the ESA letter

Yes, there are. The law covers a number of cases that let a landlord refuse to accommodate your emotional support pet. They are the following:

  1. The housing unit that is divided into less than 5 separate dwellings, one of which is occupied by the apartment owner;
  2. A single-family housing unit;
  3. Club and church housing places;
  4. Hotels, hostels and other types of transitional dwelling;
  5. Having an animal that is potentially hazardous to the other tenants or demonstrates the aggressive behavior (decided by the Department of Housing and Urban Development).

In all the other cases that are not included in this list, you can safely live together with your ESA. However, keep in mind that you automatically become responsible for your emotional support pet behavior. If its inappropriate behavior leads to the property damage, your duty is to fully compensate the harm. That is why it`s better to keep in mind that ESA training must become a vital part of your human-animal interactions.

by GetESA

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ESA Laws and Regulations