It’s no secret that having pets is good for our mental and physical health. It feels good to have a furry companion greet us at the door after a long day at work, and there’s nothing more splendid than walking your dog in one of Columbus’ many leafy parks and charming neighborhoods.
But there’s an aspect of pet ownership that should never be overlooked: the immeasurable impact that dogs and cats have on our mental and physical health. One in four Americans suffer from some kind of mental health challenge every year, and multiple studies show that having a furry companion by your side can help alleviate many of the symptoms that comes standard with depression, anxiety, and other mental health disorders that are all too common.
How Animals Help Us
It’s not just those cute puppy dog eyes that make us love animals. Years of research reminds us that life without our animals would not be the same.
According to Medical News Today, interacting with animals lowers stress, improves mood, staves off anxiety, and helps us maintain a healthy body weight. Maybe that’s because our dogs remind us to head outside to the great outdoors — giving us a chance to break a sweat and get some much-needed sunshine.
All those dog walks in our neighborhoods gets us out more, puts us face to face with our neighbors, and gets us moving. This can be a huge boon to people who struggle with mental health conditions like depression, as exercise has been shown to release chemicals like endorphins and serotonin that improve mood, bolster cognitive function, and boost self-esteem.
So no matter who you are or what your mental health challenges are, rest assured that having an animal around is doing you good. You don’t have to suffer from anxiety or depression to reap the benefits of an emotional support animal, but if you do happen to suffer from Bipolar, OCD, PTSD, depression, anxiety, ADHD, or any other issue, a furry pal can be your knight in shining armor.
Most of us have heard of Service Animals: the seeing-guide dogs, hearing dogs, diabetes alert dogs, seizure response dogs, and more. But if your dog or cat doesn’t qualify for any of these, can they still be an emotional support animal?
Here’s the down-low.
How are Emotional Support animals different from service animals?
When you think of service animals, think of it as a dog, cat, or horse having a job. They train for the job, get certified for the job, and then spend their days in highly-skilled, highly-trained behaviors, helping their humans live their happiest, healthiest, safest, most functional lives.
Dogs are the most common service animals and can be trained to open doors, fetch things for their owner, recognize traffic signals, guide their owner safely across public streets, navigate through crowds of people, assisting with balance or falling issues, or assist hearing-disabled persons.
If you have a service animal, you are welcome to bring Fido everywhere you go, whether that be restaurants, museums, libraries, hotels, stores, and public transit. Unfortunately, when it comes to your Emotional Support Animal, this is not the case.
Emotional support animals simply offer alleviating benefits with their presence alone. They don’t have to be trained, they don’t have to have any special skills.. They just have to have a measurable, positive impact on the mental health of their owner.
Under Ohio Law, owners of shops, cafes, restaurants, museums, or any other public place are not required to allow emotional support animals — but they ARE required to allow certified service animals.
What does this mean when it comes to finding a Pet-Friendly Columbus apartment?
First of all, support animals are not considered pets in the eyes of Ohio law.
If you have a service animal or emotional support animal, you can legally live wherever you want, as long as you have the right documentation.
Under the Fair Housing Act (FHA), landlords and property owners are required to make reasonable accommodations for tenants with disabilities.
Landlords are also required to allow entry to ANY emotional support animal in their Columbus apartments.
According to the Franklin County Law Library, “Even if a landlord has no pet policy in place, the law does not consider service OR assistance animals as pets and therefore the animal is exempt from such a restriction.”
What Columbus Ohio Apartment Landlords are Allowed to Do When it Comes to Emotional Support Animals
Not every apartment in Columbus is going to allow pets. (Rest assured that the vast majority of Lykens-owned apartments in Columbus are pet-friendly because we believe in the power of pets for our tenant’s mental and physical health!)
Keep in mind, under Ohio law, here are all the things Landlords are allowed to do when it comes to your Emotional Support Animal or service animal.
- Landlords can write warnings and even evict a tenant with a service or emotional support animal if the animal is disturbing others, posing a threat to others, or causing considerable damage to the property.
- Landlords can request copies of the animal’s health records to prove the animal is in good health, parasite-free and immunized/vaccinated.
- Landlords can require written verification from the tenant’s health care provider that the service or emotional support animal is needed.
- Landlords can require written verification from the tenants health care provider that they are disabled.
What Columbus Ohio Apartment Landlords are NOT allowed to do When it Comes to Emotional Support Animals
Unfortunately, not all landlords play by the rules. Here’s what landlords are NOT allowed to do when it comes to your service animal or emotional support animal.
- Landlords cannot charge a pet deposit or pet rent for service and assistance animals.
- Landlords cannot ask for any specifics about the disability to you or your healthcare provider.
Do You Qualify for an Emotional Support Animal in Ohio?
In order to qualify for an emotional support animal in Ohio, you need to have a medical need for that animal, and you need to suffer from one of the following mental health issues:
- Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
- Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
- Panic, Phobias, or fear disorders
- Learning disorders
- Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD)
- Tic disorders
- Motor skills disorders
- Bipolar disorder
- Gender identity issues
- Substance-related issues (alcohol or drug dependency, among others)
- Cognitive disorders.
Your Responsibilities As Someone With An Emotional Support Animal
Procuring an ESA letter does not absolve you of all responsibility of pet ownership. You still need to be diligent, responsible pet owner, and a good neighbor! Here are a couple of things to keep in mind, whether your animal is a service animal or an Emotional support animal.
- You are still on the hook for any and all damages your animal does to your Columbus apartment, just like any other pet owner. So if Skippy is a huge fan of clawing the hardwood floors, you should do anything in your power to minimize the damage. Rugs, anyone?
- Under Ohio Law, owners of public accommodations are not required to allow Emotional Support animals — only service animals and animal assistants that support those with disabilities. So before you bring your favorite furry friend to your local cafe, shop, or restaurant, be sure to check with the owners first. For more information, check out our article about the best places to bring Fido in Victorian Village!
Pet-Friendly Apartments in Columbus, Ohio
The vast majority of Columbus Ohio apartments owned by Lykens Companies are proudly pet-friendly. We understand the importance that animals have in the lives of their owners, and we wouldn’t want to deprive our tenants of such an important and healthy part of their lives.
If you have any questions about living in a Columbus Ohio apartment with your support animal but don’t know where to start, we encourage you to reach out to us. We love speaking with people about what they’re looking for in an apartment, and would love to help you find the right place for you and your Emotional Support Animal, no matter what your budget is.
Now, a bit about Lykens Companies…
With 20 years (and counting) of experience, we believe that Lykens Companies is just getting started on its mission to offer Columbus hundreds of premier apartments, rentals, and renovations. Each day, we are driving toward constantly expanding and improving our business and bettering Columbus, the city we love. For our renters, that means that they are connected to a proven business that is always striving to be the best. Our success isn’t an accident. We are constantly striving to improve our quality, both in the buildings that we renovate, reimagine, and rent out; moreover, we are striving to improve in the way that our business operates. For you, that means the best units and the best service in the best locations.
As we invest our time, money, and energy into the Short North, Victorian Village, Italian Village, and other parts of Columbus’s urban core, it’s nothing short of amazing to step back and see how much we’re able to impact our city, whether that looks like renovating apartments, houses, or even factories like the Wonder Bread Lofts and the forthcoming Budd Dairy project: a full scale reimagining of an old dairy factory into a Cameron Mitchell food hall and state-of-the-art coworking space.
If you’re looking to rent in Columbus, Ohio’s urban core, you’ve come to the right place. We’re confident that it doesn’t get better than us when it comes to finding the absolute best apartments and rentals in Columbus.
See every availability!
Whether you’re looking for an apartment in the Short North, a rental in Victorian Village, a studio in Italian Village, or a loft in Wonder Bread, our Available Rentals page will feature all that (and more). We’re constantly adding our newest properties and highlighting that month’s leasing specials. Bookmark it and check often! What if you took two minutes to browse it right now? And don’t forget about our awesome Instagram for updates, new leases, and beautiful photos.
Already a resident? Refer a friend!
At Lykens Companies, we offer a simple and easy referral program to our residents. For each referral of yours who signs a lease, we’ll pay you $200! Be sure to learn everything about this awesome plan and even check out our three methods to actually get your friends to sign a lease.