Emotional support animals; what’s the law in Nebraska?

11 Replies

I know that applicants who have a service animal are exempted from any no-pets policies and fees/extra charges.

However, what does the law say about emotional support animals? Are applicants who own them protected by the law or landlords can just turn down the application if there’s a no-pets policy for the property? Also, what kind of certification is required? I live in Nebraska.

The Avail article is pretty good, but also confusing. Emotional Support Animals are not "pets" that provide a service. They are considered a service animal under Fair Housing. This is a federal law. You  can't deny them. You can't charge a pet deposit or increase the rent.

If you want to simplify your life, go to Petscreening.com and sign up for a free account. They'll handle all the screening for you at no cost.

Nathan is absolutely correct. Emotional support animals, in regards to residential real estate, are service animals.

Nice article.  

   This is where proper screening and a proper lease come into play. 

    My application asks about animals, not pets. Lie in my application and I’ll deny you.  Skip that question and I’ll deny you. 

    I’ve had several people try the ESA stuff already, luckily I just deny them for other issues on their application. While I am all for allowing things within the law, that means I can deny them as well within the law.  So credit score, collections, evictions, unable to reach references, not able to verify income, or any other of the requirements that I can legally deny a applicant for I will use.


    

     

Eric is right about asking about animals, not pets.  Doesn't mean you can discriminate, but it will get you the info you want.  For documentation, you can also ask for it from a doctor, not an online service who will say any animal is an emotional support animal.

Yes, spot-on responses above; emotional support animals, in regards to residential real estate, are service animals. The Fair Housing Act states that tenants with emotional support animals cannot be charged extra fees for having their support animals. Based on FHA, you must allow the dog, even if you have a no-pet policy, and you can't charge extra pet rent, pet fee, or pet deposit. That said I know a lot of landlords who have run into issues with the ESA process; there's a difference between extra fees and cost to cover destruction of property, and as far as breeds, some insurance companies are a bit more reluctant to insure the property if certain breeds are residing there. @Ruben Spretz

@Jeff Willis - thanks for the share!

actually, an ESA is not the same as a service animal under the ADA Title II or III. Here is the HUD guidelines:

Here is a summary courtesy of animalaw.info (emphasis mine):

There are only two questions that HUD says a housing provider should consider with a request for an assistance animal as a reasonable accommodation:

(1) Does the person seeking to use and live with the animal have a disability — i.e., a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities?

(2) Does the person making the request have a disability-related need for an assistance animal? In other words, does the animal work, provide assistance, perform tasks or services for the benefit of a person with a disability, or provide emotional support that alleviates one or more of the identified symptoms or effects of a person's existing disability?

(FHEO Notice: FHEO-2013-01 at page 2). A "no" answer to either of the questions means that a housing provider is not obligated to make a reasonable accommodation according to HUD. This may mean that the person does not meet the definition of disability or that the assistance animal does not help with symptoms of the disability. If the answer is "yes" to both, then HUD states the FHA requires an exception to a "no pets" rule. The emotional support animal must alleviate, or help, some symptom(s) of the disability.

HUD does not list all the possible disabilities for which an assistance animal could be used. Instead, HUD says the functions include "providing emotional support to persons with disabilities who have a disability-related need for such support." (FHEO Notice: FHEO-2013-01 at page 2). Emotional support animals have been known to assist disabled individuals with severe depression, generalized anxiety disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, and many other emotional and psychiatric disabilities.

If a person with a disability needs to use an assistance animal, he or she must first make the request to his or her housing provider or housing board. HUD says that a person seeking the accommodation must submit reliable documentation of the disability and disability-related need for the assistance animal if the disability is not known or readily-apparent. This documentation is usually a letter from a medical doctor or treating therapist who can establish the disability and need for the assistance animal. The housing provider may not ask for access to medical records or unreasonably delay the request.

Note I specifically highlight TREATING therapist, some online site is not a treating therapist, even it a licensed therapist is what they use to essentially scamp the system.

I also don't see anything about not charging them an additional fee, just can't deny them, nor do I see anything about requiring them to add the animal as a rider on their renters insurance.  Please note however, I am not a lawyer.

Originally posted by @Joseph Walsh :

actually, an ESA is not the same as a service animal under the ADA Title II or III. Here is the HUD guidelines:

Here is a summary courtesy of animalaw.info (emphasis mine):

There are only two questions that HUD says a housing provider should consider with a request for an assistance animal as a reasonable accommodation:

(1) Does the person seeking to use and live with the animal have a disability — i.e., a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities?

(2) Does the person making the request have a disability-related need for an assistance animal? In other words, does the animal work, provide assistance, perform tasks or services for the benefit of a person with a disability, or provide emotional support that alleviates one or more of the identified symptoms or effects of a person's existing disability?

(FHEO Notice: FHEO-2013-01 at page 2). A "no" answer to either of the questions means that a housing provider is not obligated to make a reasonable accommodation according to HUD. This may mean that the person does not meet the definition of disability or that the assistance animal does not help with symptoms of the disability. If the answer is "yes" to both, then HUD states the FHA requires an exception to a "no pets" rule. The emotional support animal must alleviate, or help, some symptom(s) of the disability.

HUD does not list all the possible disabilities for which an assistance animal could be used. Instead, HUD says the functions include "providing emotional support to persons with disabilities who have a disability-related need for such support." (FHEO Notice: FHEO-2013-01 at page 2). Emotional support animals have been known to assist disabled individuals with severe depression, generalized anxiety disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, and many other emotional and psychiatric disabilities.

If a person with a disability needs to use an assistance animal, he or she must first make the request to his or her housing provider or housing board. HUD says that a person seeking the accommodation must submit reliable documentation of the disability and disability-related need for the assistance animal if the disability is not known or readily-apparent. This documentation is usually a letter from a medical doctor or treating therapist who can establish the disability and need for the assistance animal. The housing provider may not ask for access to medical records or unreasonably delay the request.

Note I specifically highlight TREATING therapist, some online site is not a treating therapist, even it a licensed therapist is what they use to essentially scamp the system.

I also don't see anything about not charging them an additional fee, just can't deny them, nor do I see anything about requiring them to add the animal as a rider on their renters insurance.  Please note however, I am not a lawyer.

 The ADA is NOT a law that governs residential real estate. The ADAs definition has ZERO to do with RESIDENTIAL REAL ESTATE. 

Not yelling at you, just trying to make this absolutely clear for all reading it. ADA governs PUBLIC ACCOMMODATIONS.

Originally posted by @Russell Brazil :
...

 The ADA is NOT a law that governs residential real estate. The ADAs definition has ZERO to do with RESIDENTIAL REAL ESTATE. 

Not yelling at you, just trying to make this absolutely clear for all reading it. ADA governs PUBLIC ACCOMMODATIONS.

Fair enough, That was just stated to point out there is a distinction. What was quoted however is the HUD guidelines relative to the fair housing act. Thanks for pointing it out though, as I did not and therefore was potentially unclear.