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Emotional Support Animals Guidelines for Oklahoma City Rental Property Owners

Oklahoma City Tenant Petting Their Emotional Support DogOklahoma City landlords are primarily responsible for providing reasonable accommodations for tenants with disabilities. Part of that is authorizing emotional support animals in your rental properties. But sadly though, most landlords are unaware of their legal obligations or try to figure out schemes in the hopes of avoiding them. This blog post will offer several beneficial guidelines for rental property owners with emotional support animals. We will likewise speak of the after-effects of not seriously complying with the law.

Defining Emotional Support Animals

The first thing to know quite well is that emotional support animals are not the same as service animals. Service animals are, in particular, trained to perform tasks for people with disabilities, involving guiding them around obstacles or helping them with daily tasks. On the other hand, emotional support animals offer companionship and emotional comfort. They do not need to have any special training. They are certainly not considered pets, so breed and size restrictions do not apply.

Emotional Support Animals and the Law

Under the Fair Housing Act (FHA), landlords must certainly provide reasonable accommodation for tenants with disabilities. This includes permitting emotional support animals in rental properties, even if your property is shown as “pet-free.” Property owners are not allowed ever to charge additional pet deposits or higher rent if a tenant proposes to keep an emotional support animal on the property.

There are certain exceptions to this rule, as an illustration, if the animal is a danger to other tenants or if it causes considerable damage to the property. But in actuality, these exceptions are, as often the case, very rare and should not be used as an excuse to stop and reject a tenant’s request to have an emotional support animal.

Handling Tenant Requests for Emotional Support Animals

To qualify a tenant for an emotional support animal, you can demand for your tenant to provide a letter from a health professional. This letter often states explicitly that the tenant has a mental or emotional disability, and the animal provides therapeutic benefits. However, it is illegal for a property owner to ask a tenant to provide specific details or even documentation of their disability.

On the contrary, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) states that a property owner must determine whether to grant their tenant’s request for an emotional support animal solely on the recommendation of a health care professional.

Consequences for Not Following the Law

Presuming an Oklahoma City property manager discards a tenant’s request for an emotional support animal or tries to charge them additional fees, the tenant can file a complaint with the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). HUD will investigate the complaint, and if they do see that the property manager has violated the law, they can impose penalties. These can result in civil fines, damages to the tenant, and even a court order firmly dictating the property manager agrees on and permits the emotional support animal on the property.


For these reasons, landlords need to understand their legal obligations regarding emotional support animals. Ignorance of the law is, unquestionably, not an excuse and can lead to weighty penalties. If you have any questions related to your pet policy, the Fair Housing Act, or emotional support animals, contact Real Property Management Elevate. We can foster and support you in navigating state and federal laws and keep your rental property policies fully compliant with the law. Call us at 405-876-7611.

We are pledged to the letter and spirit of U.S. policy for the achievement of equal housing opportunity throughout the Nation. See Equal Housing Opportunity Statement for more information.

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