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Paws and Claws Blog - Maintaining Positive Relationships with Emotional Support Animal Owners 🐾

In our Youtube video this week we did a deep dive into Emotional Support Animals and what owners can do to both support pet owners and maintain their properties. As we dive into the world of ESAs and renters, we’re excited to share our tips with owners.

We understand that the last few years have brought about unique challenges and changes to our daily lives. As we adapt to new normals, the importance of emotional well-being has become increasingly evident. Enter Emotional Support Animals – the unsung heroes that offer companionship, comfort, and unconditional love. Unfortunately this can often be frustrating for property owners as there are laws in place to allow the safety of these companions and their owners. 

Let's shed light on the distinction between service animals and emotional support animals (ESAs). Service animals are highly trained to perform specific tasks for individuals with disabilities, such as guiding the visually impaired or alerting those with hearing impairments. On the other hand, ESAs provide emotional support to individuals but are not considered a pet. Understanding the nuances between these two roles is crucial to promoting awareness and understanding our rights as property owners. 

ESAs can be frustrating for property owners due to the challenges and uncertainties surrounding their accommodation. Property owners may find it difficult to assess the legitimacy of an ESA, as there is no standardized certification process depending on the state you live in. Additionally, the broad definition of emotional support animals can lead to a wide variety of species being claimed as ESAs, causing potential issues in housing situations. Some property owners may also express frustration when dealing with tenants or residents who may not fully understand the rights and responsibilities associated with having an ESA, leading to disputes and conflicts. It is important that as property owners we understand the rights WE have.

While property owners are required to make reasonable accommodations for individuals with ESAs, they do retain certain rights to ensure the well-being of their property and other residents. Here are three rights that property owners typically have depending on the state the property is in:

Verification of Disability:

Property owners have the right to request reliable documentation confirming the tenant's disability and the necessity of an emotional support animal. This documentation often comes in the form of a letter from a licensed mental health professional, outlining the individual's need for an ESA.

Behavioral Expectations:

Property owners can establish and enforce reasonable behavioral expectations for all animals on the premises, including emotional support animals. If an ESA exhibits aggressive or disruptive behavior, property owners have the right to take appropriate action to maintain the safety and comfort of other residents or their property.

Pet Fees and Deposits:

While ESAs are not subject to pet-related fees or deposits, property owners have the right to charge tenants for any damages caused by the emotional support animal. If the ESA causes damage to the property beyond normal wear and tear, the property owner can request compensation for repairs.

At Northeast Florida Realty, we know that pets in the home are not always ideal. Our job as owners is to be aware of how to support pet owners while still maintaining our rights as property owners.  Northeast Florida Realty is dedicated to creating thriving communities that align with the evolving needs of property owners and residents alike. For more information on ESA animals see our latest YouTube video.