People who misrepresent use of emotional support animals could face charges.
Lawmakers have sent Gov. Ron DeSantis a bill involving an effort to stop people from misrepresenting the use of emotional support animals.
HB 209, in part, would allow landlords to require proof of compliance with state and local licensing and vaccination requirements for emotional support animals.
People who falsify written documents or knowingly misrepresent the use of emotional support animals could face second-degree misdemeanors.
The bill, sponsored by Rep. Sam Killebrew (R-Winter Haven), also requires landlords to allow housing for people who legally have emotional support animals.
“What people are doing is going online and for $49.95 they can get a harness and a card and say, ‘this is my emotional support animal’. There is no way, basically, for landlords to disprove that,” Killebrew said.
The governor has until June 30 to act on the bill.
Like HUD’s recently enacted Fair Housing Equal Opportunity 2020 guidance update, Florida’s legislation requires a clinician to have “personal knowledge” of the person’s disability and is acting within the scope of his or her practice to provide the supporting information. Such a requirement likely rules out the great majority of ESA letters that are readily available for purchase.
Our Housing Pro 2020 product fully complies with HUD’s and Florida’s mandates.hb209
Chaz Stevens is an entrepreneur, former journalist, and well-known activist who has appeared on the front pages of Time, Miami Herald, Guardian, Slate, and the Huffington Post. He’s also appeared on The Daily Show, the Colbert Report, and Fox News.
Chaz lives in South Florida with his two rescue dogs. Before launching ESAD International, he could be found working on IT for IBM, Microsoft, and The Walt Disney World Company. But his favorite job is the one he’s now doing full time — helping people get to a better place.