This morning a friend of mine was explaining to me that his buddies girlfriend wanted to be able to "get around paying a pet deposit + get her pet turkey as an emotional support animal." Mmmmm, TURKEY!
My first thought was that there are legitimate people and perhaps scenarios where disabled veterans or other individuals who sincerely need a pet to help them stay sane, functional or simply get by. My second thought about this practice is that it will be abused and taken advantage of by a large number of renters who will use this as a scam to parade into their new apartment (or lease home) with a 120 pound dog who otherwise would not be permitted on the property. Keep in mind that the law prohibits Landlords from charging a pet deposit for "service animals." Landlords also are unable to impose restrictions on assistance animals based on breed, "size" or weight.
So what stops a renter from claiming her 875 pound pet donkey is an "emotional support animal?" Tenants and applicants with "disabilities" may request a reasonable accommodation for an assistance animal, including an emotional support animal. As a Landlord you are within your right to request additional documents for the assistance animal or documentation from a medical health professional. Clearly a legitimate prospect for lease should have these documents readily available and hopefully our medical professionals are performing their due diligence (better than they do prescription drugs) when signing off on a "emotionally support animal" otherwise we'll have orangutans, giraffes and warthogs living in residential neighborhoods. Laugh if you want to, it's 2018 and we're arguing about adult cry rooms and which bathroom we should be using.