ESA Letter Review Service: An FHA Flagship Fair Housing Service designed by Our Experts for Landlords, Property Managers, and Homeowners Associations HOAs

Landlords and property managers are seeing an increase in the number of disabled residents and applicants requesting an accommodation in their apartment’s pet rules so they can live with their therapy dog, ESA dog [Emotional Support Animal] or service dog on the property.

What does a fake ESA letter or “doctors letter” look like?

What does a legitimate letter look like?

HUD’s accommodation review process allows the property manager to ask for “reliable documentation” from the disabled person which should verify the disability, and the need for their ESA as well as the requested accommodation.

The landlord, property manager, or HOA board, is usually given an “ESA Letter,” or some other documentation, which needs to be evaluated carefully. Some properties call this a “doctor’s letter” because a medical professional is typically the author of the letter.

Fake ESA and Service Dog Certificates can be bought anywhere- these are not recognized as legitimate. So, what is legitimate proof a disabled person needs their assistance animal?

Fair Housing Advocates’ ESA Letter Screening would consider:

a) Source “reliability”: psychologist, psychiatrist, LCSW, or online purchase?
b) Disability verification
c) Disability-related need verification
d) Accommodation Requested
e) Financial & Administrative burden
f) Direct threat to Health & Safety
g) Risk of substantial physical damage

FHA can provide critical feedback about the “ESA Letter” so the rental or HOA community can take next steps in the interactive dialogue process as well as avoid potential fair housing pitfalls, and even litigation.

FHA would receive each ESA Letter via email from the housing provider; likewise, FHA would provide a simple screening based upon the language of the “ESA Letter” via an email response.

How Would Fair Housing Advocates Know?

We are fair housing experts, not real estate attorneys coming to your defense after-the-fact.

FHA’s experts filed several hundred fair housing complaints against properties like yours for violating the Fair Housing Act.

As a result of our experience defending consumers’ rights, we have become experts in the fair housing complaint process. We understand the complete fair housing investigation cycle from complaint submission through investigation, negotiations, and settlement.

We can help you protect your property.

We can help you know your fair housing rights.

How Can FHA Review an ESA Letter for My Property?

Follow these steps and our process to get started:

  1. Please send an electronic copy of the ESA Letter given to you by your applicant or resident via email to FHA to the following secure email address: info@fairhousingact.org
  2. The Subject line of your email should read: “ESA Letter Review for XXXX Property, City, State”
  3. Please insert the name of your Property, City, and State into the Subject line.
  4. Each ESA Letter review cost $55, payable here:
  5. FHA will review the ESA Letter and provide a written report within 48 hours of receiving the email request to review the ESA Letter.

*This service is also included as part of our Fair Housing Property Pro service.

Contact FHA at info@fairhousingact.org or 877.838.9963 to make arrangements.

NOTE: FHA’s analysis focuses solely on the merits of the “ESA Letter” itself and does not take into account other information and documents which FHA is not privy to. Our goal is to provide the best analytical review; we focus on the elements HUD requires to verify a bona fide need for an assistance animal.  We do not qualify applicants to rent/lease housing.