Emotional Support Animals


As an Owner or Operator, How Does this Affect My Business?

According to the Fair Housing Act, apartment owners and operators are required to make reasonable accommodations in rules, policies, practices, or services, when such accommodations may be necessary to afford a person with a disability equal opportunity to use and enjoy a dwelling unit or common space. The most requested accommodation is for a rental housing provider to allow an assistance animal (defined as either a service animal or an emotional support animal) that would normally be prohibited, to reside with the resident. The request can come in many forms, such as an exception to community rules that prohibit animals in a no-pets building, prohibit certain aggressive breeds on the property or require the tenant to pay additional fees or deposits for a pet.                                                                                                                                                         

Similar to the airline industry, a lack of clarity in the law governing reasonable accommodation requests in housing has created a loophole for bad actors to abuse the system, creating a cottage industry of online outlets that produce the verification required by law for the right price. The law also does not give owners and operators clear guidance on compliance, giving them pause because if they make the wrong decision on a request, it could result in a housing discrimination complaint and having to pay significant monetary damages to the resident.

NAA Position

The National Apartment Association strongly supports the rights of persons with disabilities to make reasonable accommodation requests so they may have equal opportunity to use and enjoy a dwelling. NAA urges the US Department of Housing and Urban Development to revise its regulations regarding emotional support animals or take other steps to mitigate potential abuse and ensure that the benefit of a reasonable accommodation applies to only those who legitimately need it.

Fact Sheet

Affiliate & Member Resources

Here you will find more in-depth information about the issue, talking points, and statutory research. These resources are an NAA member benefit and are password protected.


To learn more about the Emotional Support Animals issue, please contact Nicole Upano, Director of Public Policy at NAA.