If you are a landlord, you must know the difference between a Service Animal and an Emotional Support Animal (ESA).
A service animal will work for the owner that might be; disabled, handicapped, or might have a medical condition. The animal is trained and works for their owner in most situations in most cases it will visible the animal works for the owner.
Emotional Support Animals (ESA) does not work for the owner. It is simply a letter from their doctor. The ESA does not have to be trained; they are to help emotionally support their owner. In some cases, a physician will prescribe a ESA to someone who has a mental disability such as: depression.
As far as knowing if your tenant has a real ESA animal, there is a fine line with discrimination. There are a few ways we screen people and their ESA letters. Once a prospective tenant has applied for a property and puts on their application they have a ESA. The prospect will provide a letter. A few simple ways to know the letter is real. Look at the address it must state the physician’s office address and phone number, it must be a letter from a physician in the state of Colorado, each letter is only valid for a year so you will want to check the date as well.
Unfortunately, a common things tenants will do is go online and pay a little bit of money and get fake ones. A lot of the time you will be able to tell by the physician’s address being a P.O. Box, the phone number is a 1-800 number, and it is not issued in the state of Colorado.
It is very crucial you do not discriminate against someone who has a service animal or someone with an ESA. As a landlord or property manager you can not discriminate on either because they both are protected by the Fair Housing Act. Under the federal Fair Housing Act, housing facilities must allow service dogs and emotional support animals, if necessary for a person with a disability to have an equal opportunity to use and enjoy the home.