Did you know over 61 million Americans suffer from an emotional disability? If you're one of those afflicted, you may qualify for an Florida Emotional Support Animal (ESADoggy).
How To Get An Florida Emotional Support Animal
Typically dogs and cats, through their companion an affection, a ESAD Int'l helps to lessen the symptoms of an emotional disability. Governed by various Federal laws, a Florida Emotional Support Animal requires no specialized training (e.g. service dogs, etc.).
How to Qualify for a Florida Emotional Support Animal?
Qualifications for a Florida Emotional Support Animal is straightforward. A licensed mental health professional will certify your emotional disability and issue a Florida Emotional Support Animal letter of recommendation which you provide to your property owner or airline gate agent.
ESAD Int'l will support you through the year, answering questions about ESA housing and travel issues. About a month before your letter expires, we’ll re-certify and renew your status. You will never be out of compliance.
Components of your ESAD Int'l letter
Per Federal guidelines (FHA and ACAA), your ESAD Int'l letter of recommendation (written within the last year on the doctor's letterhead) will contain important information:
- You're a current patient of the mental health provider who's writing the ESAD Int'l letter
- You're under their care and treatment of an emotional disability that's outlined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual Version IV or V
- Your emotional disability restricts you from daily completing and participating at least one significant activity
- The recommendation of an Florida Emotional Support Animal is an important part of your mental health treatment
Here's a short list of various mental disorders that qualify for an ESADoggy letter.
- Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD)
- Cognitive disorders
- Gender identity crisis
- Learning disorders
- Sexual disorder
Why is a Florida Emotional Support Animal letter necessary?
The letter especially comes in handy when:
Renting a home – The Federal Fair Housing Amendments Act (FHAct) provides emotionally disabled individuals with the right to live with their ESA even in no-pets-allowed housing. Property owners are legally required to accept your emotional support animal. We note letter holders are accountable to keep their ESA documentation up to date (expires annually).
During air travel - The Federal Air Carrier Access Act allowed ESA travelers to bring the animal into the main cabin. There are important compliance rules that must be followed, otherwise, the airline is not required to make reasonable accommodations.
Federal Law regarding Florida Emotional Support Animals
Federal Law allows a licensed mental health provider to recommend qualified individuals an emotional support animal. Traditionally, this is an untrained dog or cat that helps treat its owner for symptoms such as anxiety, panic attacks, depression, insomnia, and PTSD.
The statutes recognize three broad categories of disabilities: (1) a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities (such as walking, working, washing, learning, dressing, etc.); (2) a record of impairment; or (3) being regarded as having such an impairment.
HUD and Housing Providers for your Florida Emotional Support Animal
HUD and housing providers take the following into consideration:
(1) Does the person seeking to use and live with the animal have a disability — i.e., a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities?
(2) Does the person making the request have a disability-related need for an assistance animal? In other words, does the animal work, provide assistance, perform tasks or services for the benefit of a person with a disability, or provide emotional support that alleviates one or more of the identified symptoms or effects of a person’s existing disability?
Florida Emotional Support Dog
From HUD's guidelines, "such documentation is sufficient if it establishes that an individual has a disability and that the animal in question will provide some type of disability-related assistance or emotional support."
Continuing, "a housing provider may not ask a tenant or applicant to provide documentation showing the disability or disability-related need for an assistance animal if the disability or disability-related need is readily apparent or already known to the provider."
What exactly is a reasonable accommodation?
FHA discrimination includes "a refusal to make reasonable accommodations in rules, policies, practices, or services, when such accommodations may be necessary to afford [a person with a disability] an equal opportunity to use and enjoy a dwelling."
So, if your requested accommodation doesn't unduly burden (financially or administratively) your landlord, nor can it fundamentally alter the housing complex, the owner must provide housing.
HUD and several courts have explicitly stated that an exception to a "no pets" policy would qualify as a reasonable accommodation.
A landlord can ask for supporting documentation defining the need for an emotional support animal, but a tenant is not required to provide proof of training or certification of the animal.