How To Get an ESA Letter in California

Our how to get an ESA letter in California process is simple. To get an ESA Letter in California:

  • Complete our quick online pre-assessment 
  • Connect with a California licensed mental health therapist 
  • Get your ESA Letter (if approved)

Any individual with mental or emotional health conditions can qualify for an ESA letter in California. One main requirement to qualify for an ESA is that an individual meets with a licensed mental health professional. An ESA letter in California documents that your animal serves a specific purpose related to a disability. Below are some common illnesses that qualify for an ESA:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Learning Disabilities
  • Chronic Stress
Child playing with cat at home How to get an ESA letter in California

What Is an Emotional Support Animal?

ESAs provide emotional, cognitive, or similar support to individuals with a disability. An ESA does not need to be trained to be an emotional support animal. However, a service animal is trained to perform specific tasks for individuals with disabilities due to mental or physical illness.  No federal law requires an ESA to wear a tag, harness, or clothing indicating they are an ESA. It's important to understand the difference between service animals and emotional support animals.  Additionally, an ESA dog is not entitled to the rights and privileges granted by law to a guide, signal, or service dog. If interested in more information, you can visit our PSD Letter page and learn how to qualify for a psychiatric service dog letter.

Woman cuddling with her dog ESA letter california

The Fair Housing Act

The Fair Housing Act (FHA) applies to both emotional support animals and service animals. This law protects people from discrimination with, such as renting, when it comes to race, religion, or disability. The FHA ensures that someone with a mental illness and disability does not experience housing discrimination for the need for an emotional or service animal. Housing providers must instead provide reasonable accommodations for these individuals. Additionally, they are not allowed to charge any pet-related fees. Those with ESAs must present their ESA housing letter to their landlord to demonstrate their need for an ESA. In addition, landlords or management companies may require completing their form and the ESA letter. Your therapist will fill out and sign any necessary documents to confirm the validity of your ESA letter.

Stay at any Place with no Worries with your ESA

Your ESA letter is the only official documentation that allows you to live anywhere with your ESA. This is because ESAs are endorsed and protected by the rules and regulations set by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). With a California ESA letter, it's guaranteed your pet will be welcomed in any residential unit you live in or move into.

Airbnbs endorse ESAs, which means you can bring your pet to any property. You could even stay at units listed with a “no pets allowed” policy, as long as you have an ESA letter.

Waived Housing Pet Fees for your ESA

ESAs are a key component of someone’s mental health treatment. Therefore, HUD ensures individuals who depend on their animals are not deprived of the support they need due to expensive fees. This is why any pet-related housing fees can be waived if you have an ESA letter.


How do I get an emotional support animal letter in California?

To qualify for an ESA (dog, cat, rabbit, or other), you will need to connect with a licensed therapist in the state of California. In addition, a therapeutic relationship must be established with your therapist for at least 30 days before receiving documentation if you have an ESA dog or looking to get an ESA dog.

Can a therapist write an ESA letter in California?

Yes, only licensed mental health practitioners can evaluate and approve an individual for ESA. Your therapist should have a valid, active license and include their license effective date, license number, jurisdiction, and type of professional license in the documentation. The therapist must be licensed in the jurisdiction where the client is located. In addition, a clinical assessment regarding the need for an emotional support dog must be administered. Lastly, a therapeutic relationship with the individual must be established for at least 30 days before providing documentation for an ESA dog. This rule only applies to ESA dogs. You do not need to wait 30 days for an ESA letter for a cat, rabbit, etc.

When can a landlord legally deny an emotional support animal in California?

In California, landlords must allow assistance animals in housing.  Also, landlords can't charge fees or deposits for emotional support animals, and they can't say no to an ESA based on breed, weight, or size.  In California, a landlord can't deny you an emotional support animal if you have a valid ESA letter from a licensed mental health professional.  However, a landlord can decline an ESA if it demonstrates a safety or health threat to others. 

Start Your ESA Letter Process Today!

If your pet helps alleviate anxiety, stress, and calms you, learn how to get an ESA letter in California with Pet Connect.