An emotional support animal registration of any kind, including, but not limited to, an identification card, patch, certificate or similar registration obtained from the internet is not, by itself, sufficient information to reliably establish that a person has a disability or a disability-related need for an emotional support animal.
Pursuant to Section 760.27 of the Florida Statutes, “it is unlawful to discriminate in the provision of housing to a person with a disability or disability-related need for, and who has at or at any time obtains, an emotional support animal.
If a prospective tenant has an Emotional Support Animal (ESA) or obtains one during the lease, the management company may not discriminate against the prospective tenant according to Section 760.27 of the Florida Statutes. A tenant with a disability or a disability related need must be allowed to keep the animal in the property. A pet fee or deposit for an Emotional Support Animal (ESA) cannot be charged. Also, a person with a disability or a disability related need for an Emotional Support Animal (ESA) is liable for any damage caused by the animal to the property or to another person at the property.
A management company can only ask certain questions regarding a person with an Emotional Support Animal (ESA) and the statute defines what may be requested. A management company is really trying to establish two things:
#1. That the prospective tenant really does have a disability.
#2. The disability related need for an Emotional Support Animal (ESA).
#1 - A management company may ask for reliable information that reasonably supports that the person has a disability. Supporting information that may be provided according to the statute:
If a person's disability is not readily apparent, a management company can request information to support the disability claim.
#2 - Also when not readily apparent, a management company can ask for reliable information that reasonably supports the prospective tenant's need for the particular Emotional Support Animal (ESA) being requested which the statute clarifies:
The law also states that a management company can ask the potential tenant specific information about each animal if more than one Emotional Support Animal (ESA) is requested. Law also gives the management company the right to ask for proof of vaccinations.
1. Cannot request any information that may disclose or reveal the actual diagnosis or severity of a person's disability.
2. Cannot request any medical records relating to the disability.
3. May not require the use of a specific form or notarized statement.
4. Cannot deny a prospective tenant because they did not follow the management company's routine method.