Emotional Support Animal

Hi, all! I’m helping out a relative with renting their house out, and we ran across something new: a prospective tenant has an emotional support animal.

The house is a no-pets rental, and we’re not sure of a landlord’s rights in CA when it comes to ESAs.

I did some googling and it looks like at the federal level, there are protections for landlords:

The Fair Housing Act covers most housing. In some circumstances, the Act exempts owner-occupied buildings with no more than four units, single-family housing sold or rented without the use of a broker, and housing operated by organizations and private clubs that limit occupancy to members.

This rental is a SFH, so this should allow the property to be exempt from having to accommodate an ESA.

However, the sites I found with information specific for California doesn’t mention the above exceptions. They mention only that landlords may deny an ESA if, even with reasonable accommodations, the animal poses a threat to the health and safety of others or would cause substantial property damage.

Anyone have experience dealing with this issue? All advice is welcome–thanks!

P.S.: If things aren’t clear-cut, we may just check in with a lawyer. Please PM me if you have any good referrals. Thanks!

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Check anything related to animals that are prescribed by any doctor in cases of depression or anything else. Service animals, as they call them, may have some leverage somewhere.

I have allowed only one tenant with pets. Hmmmm, garden is full of poop, they never clean it. Gardener complained and stopped maintaining, frequent reminders were given, no improvement…They left, house was full of urinal smell, took so much time and money to bring back.

Not all tenants are like this, unfortunately happened to me, but It is left to you to decide.

As a landlord, you can’t do much against ESA. They aren’t considered a pet.

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