Utah Laws on Emotional Support Animals
If you have an to help you with your disability, you might wonder what rights you and the animal have. Emotional support animals are not service animals and are not covered by the ADA. However, you have certain housing rights under the Fair Housing Act, which requires landlords and housing providers to give reasonable accommodation.
Utah law does not give any specific extra information, but there has been a lot of movement lately to crack down on "fake" emotional support animals, that is to say people claiming a regular pet is an ESA.
DoNotPay can help you navigate this by ensuring that you have the right information and paperwork to get permission. We can help you get permission from your landlord to have the ESA, or from airlines including Southwest, United, and American Airlines.
What is an Emotional Support Animal?
An emotional support animal is an animal whose presence helps alleviate one or more symptoms of a disability, such as severe anxiety. Typically ESAs are dogs, but cats are also common, and other animals are not unknown. Some people find a bird or a pocket pet easier to look after, for example.
ESAs are not service animals. They are not trained to perform specific tasks. There is often confusion between an ESA and a psychiatric service animal, but the latter is trained to perform tasks that might include bringing the person their phone so they can call their therapist, remind them when to take their medication, or assist in communicating if nonverbal.
Situations Where Emotional Support Animals May Be Accommodated
There are several situations where accommodations must be made for service animals and may be extended to emotional support animals. These include:
|Housing||The Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity has extended the right for accommodation to all assistance animals. This means that you may have pet policies and fees waived to ensure that you have equal access to housing. While your landlord cannot ask about your disability directly, you may be asked for documentation to verify the need for the animal.|
|Places of employment||Making allowances for your emotional support animal may be considered an accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act.|
|Schools||Emotional support animals may be accommodated in schools on a case-by-case basis.|
|Businesses||There is an increasing number of businesses allowing dogs on their premises whether they are assistance animals or not.|
Are Landlords in Utah Required to Accept ESAs?
Federal law requires landlords in Utah to "reasonably accommodate" ESAs. This means that they have to allow them even if the building is not pet friendly and may be required to waive pet rent. However, they are not required to:
- Allow an animal that misbehaves, and they may ask that an untrained or not house broken animal be removed.
- Allow an animal that is a potential danger because of its size or species, such as extremely large dogs in small apartments or hot (venomous) snakes.
- Grant access to any public areas such as gyms, clubhouses, pools, etc.
They can also charge you or withhold your security deposit if the animal does damage to the apartment. They may turn you down if they are not convinced that the animal is a legitimate emotional support animal. They can also make you apply again if something happens and you need to replace the ESA.
What is an ESA Letter?
While the FHA requires landlords to accommodate ESAs, landlords in Utah are allowed to request documentation that proves the animal is needed. This means getting an ESA letter, basically a doctor's note, that includes:
- The medical professional's license number and expiry date.
- The date the letter was written.
- A statement of why you need the ESA.
- The medical professional's contact information.
Utah requires that the person issuing the ESA letter be licensed as a medical professional in Utah. While it is legal to get an ESA letter from an online service, it has to be one which provides local support. It is better, of course, to get one from your regular therapist.
However, this can be a challenge. For example, if you have just moved to the state or are planning on moving to the state, you may not have a therapist or psychiatrist in Utah yet. Utah also allows family doctors and primary care providers to write these letters, but not all are willing to do so.
It's also worth noting that lying about an emotional support animal is a Class C misdemeanor in Utah...and if caught doing so you will also likely have to move or get rid of the animal. Not following the rules can get you busted even if the animal genuinely is an ESA.
DoNotPay cannot generate an ESA letter for you. We can, however, create a request for accommodations or a demand letter if your landlord turns down your request. Our Sue Now product can help you take your landlord to small claims court if they are being unreasonable. Many people win these lawsuits.
How DoNotPay Can Help
DoNotPay can help you by making sure you have all of your ducks in the row, and making it much more likely that the landlord or HOA will accept your request, avoiding potentially having to go to court.
This means you need our Service and Emotional Support Animals product. Through this product, DoNotPay can contact your landlord about your ESA, find an online psychiatrist who will write you an ESA letter, ask airlines about their accommodation options, and more.
- Search "service animal" on DoNotPay.
- Select the type of issue you need help with, including contacting your landlord about your ESA/service animal, asking your airline about ESA options, or requesting ESA/service accommodations at other venues.
- Answer a series of questions about your current situation and the details of your ESA/service animal, so we can generate the best results for you.
DoNotPay will take over, dealing with your issue appropriately. They might contact the airline, hotel, or venue and get you the answer you need, or generate and mail a letter to your landlord requesting accommodation, or even help you ask your mental health professional for a formal ESA letter.
Why Use DoNotPay to Help With Your ESA Needs in Utah
DoNotPay is a much faster and easier way to deal with all of your , whether it's suing a landlord, getting a medical provider to write you a letter, or simply understanding your rights. It's fast, easy, and much more likely to get the desired result than trying it on your own.
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