Housing and air travel emotional support animal

With an emotional support animal, you could enjoy a good quality of life, notwithstanding your mental and emotional disabilities. Being able to freely live and travel with your ESAs would confirm that you experience this quality of life at all times.

Living with an ESA

In the current scenario, it is very common that landlords implement a strict “no pet policy” for their tenants. Normally, it is because of problems such as damages to property, noise disturbance, and others that are connected with pets. Though there are some situations in which individuals are permitted to keep a pet in a “no pet” rental, As per the Americans with Disability Act, a disabled individual could live with a pet that offers relaxation to him or her in a “no pet” scenario, and such a pet is recognized as an ESA.

The Fair Housing Act and ESAs

The Fair Housing Amendment Act of 1988 safeguards the rights of people with disabilities to maintain ESAs, even when the policy of the landlord specifically states the prohibition of pets. Because ESAs are not considered pets but rather assistive aids, the law will usually require the landlord to create an exception to its no pet policy so that a tenant with a disability can fully use and enjoy their dwelling. By having an ESA letter for a dog, a person can keep a dog at home even if the policy of the landlord prohibits pets in the house.

The main stipulation of the Fair Housing Act is as follows:

  • Providers of housing shall make reasonable accommodations and permit your ESAs, even if there is a prohibition by the landlord for pets in the house.
  • Providers of housing could not implement restrictions like the age, size, weight, or breed of your ESAs. Such restrictions might be applied to normal pets. Usually, you will not have to worry with respect to getting a new ESA that is appropriate for a particular profile to rent in a building in which pets are permitted, but with limitations. It can be argued that housing providers are not required to comply when ESA is too large, like a horse, to fit into a building.
  • There is a guarantee of your privacy rights. You are not required to provide any information about a mental disability to any housing provider. The landlord cannot demand any medical history or involve you in any discussion about the type and severity of the mental disorder for which you require ESA.
  • You are also protected from having to pay any additional fees or rent as a result of having ESA. It is the case even when landlords charge tenants standard pet fees or deposits.

Traveling with ESAs

When travelling with ESAs, an ESA travel letter is required. The Department of Transportation of the United States provides some guidelines that must be followed by airlines in accordance with the Air Carrier Access Act. In this Act, domestic as well as international flights are included.

Following are the aspects that are covered under ACCA:

  • You retain the right to fly in the Aeroplan with your ESA at no cost.
  • Your right and opportunity to fly with an ESA could not be denied by an Aeroplan due to the only reason that an ESA is of a specific breed or weight, except if such weight is actually very significant to accommodate in the cabin.
  • If animals pose any safety risk to others, then boarding by ESA could be denied by the airline.
  • The right to restrict ESAs to one passenger per ESA can be maintained by airlines.

Documents needed for travel with ESAs

In order to travel with ESAs, the following documents are required:

  • Authorization by medical professionals.
  • Veterinary documentation
  • Passengers’ guarantee for ESA’s behavior

. In order to travel, it is required that the person submit an ESA letter along with any other information at least 48 hours before the date of travel. Notification has been provided by the airline subsequent to the approval of documents.

While housing providers have a maximum of 10 days to respond to your letter, though not compulsory, you can always attach a personal statement to supplement the letter.

What should you do if it is refused?

As a traveller and tenant, you possess rights under ACCA and FHA, respectively, as mentioned. You can also file a discrimination claim against the airline or housing provider if they refuse your request for reasonable accommodation under your ESA.

Get your ESA letter.

You can enjoy reasonable accommodation and some privileges at the time of searching for housing and travelling by having a valid ESA letter. 

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