What are the ESA Laws in Montana?

The federal Fair Housing Act (FHA) and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) secure the rights of assistance animal owners (including ESA owners) to equal access to housing. This means that your housing provider must make reasonable accommodations for your emotional support animal to live with you, as long as you are in possession of a valid ESA letter. In fact, your ESA letter supersedes the landlord’s usual pet policies and exempts you from any pet deposits or fees, as well as breed and weight restrictions. 

In 2023, Montana passed HB 703, which revised and clarified the state’s own ESA laws as they relate to federal regulations, winding up with some significant changes. The bill allows a landlord to request supporting information about a tenant’s need for a support animal, requiring a licensed mental health professional (LMHP) to identify the emotional need the animal relieves. But to make it official, you must have a professional relationship with the LMHP for at least 30 days before they can issue you an ESA letter.

However, the new law also prohibits landlords from requiring information about the tenant’s diagnosis or the severity of their disorder and further clarifies that a tenant is responsible for any damage to the property or injury to other tenants.

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