Managing requests from residents or guests for an accommodation for an emotional support animal can be difficult for associations to navigate, especially when the disability is not readily apparent.  However, the State of Florida has recently adopted legislation to assist associations with determining what they can and cannot request from the individual when evaluating the request.

What CAN an Association Request Under the new Florida law?

  • Reliable information that reasonably supports that the person has a:
  1. Disability; and
  2. Disability-related need for the emotional support animal.

Proof of disability can be satisfied by the person providing your Association with any one of the following:

  1. A determination of disability from a government agency;
  2. Receipt of disability benefits or services from a government agency;
  3. Proof of eligibility for housing assistance or a housing voucher received because of a disability;
  4. Information from a health care practitioner, telehealth provider or other similarly licensed or certified practitioner or provider in good standing who has personal knowledge of the person’s disability and is providing information that is within the scope of their practice.  If they are an out-of-state provider they must have provided in-person care or services to the person at least once;
  5. Information from any other source the Association reasonably deems reliable.

Proof of disability-related need can be satisfied by the person providing your Association with any of the following:

  1. Information identifying the particular assistance or therapeutic emotional support provide by the specific animal from a health care practitioner, telehealth provider or other similarly licensed or certified practitioner or provider in good standing who has personal knowledge of the person’s disability and is providing information that is within the scope of their practice. 
  2. Information from any other source the Association reasonably deems reliable.
  • Proof of Vaccination of the emotional support animal.
  • Proof of licensure of the emotional support animal if required by state or local government.
  • If an individual requests more than 1 emotional support animal, you can also ask for information regarding the specific need for each.

What Can an Association NOT Request or Require Under the new Florida law?

  • Information that discloses the severity of the person’s disability;
  • Medical records of the person;
  • The use of a specific form, application or notarized statement, or that the person follow the Association’s routine procedure for processing these types of requests. 
    • Essentially, if the requesting person provides you with reliable information supporting their disability and disability-related need, along with proof of vaccination and licensure (if applicable), the request should be approved and the Association cannot mandate that they fill out the Association’s in-house documents in connection with review and approval of their request.

You will not receive CEU credits, but you can view the recording from our recent ESA webinar here.

By Dan Wasserstein, Esq., Wasserstein, P.A.