Rules on Emotional Support & Comfort Animals
Advising Our Clients in Sarasota on a New Florida Law
On June 23, 2020, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed into law a bill that prohibits housing discrimination against people with emotional support animals. Under SB 1084, a person with a disability or disability-related need for an emotional support animal is protected from housing discrimination on the basis of their need for the animal.
Which Animals Can Be Support or Comfort Animals?
Despite – or perhaps because of – stories about miniature ponies and even an alligator acting as emotional support animals to some individuals, the bill stops short of going into specifics about which creatures can qualify as emotional support animals.
As the law is currently written, an emotional support animal needs only to alleviate symptoms or effects of someone’s disability. That’s an important distinction from a service animal, which is typically trained to perform tasks to aid someone with a disability; no such service requirement is required of an emotional support animal.
Although landlords are now prohibited from turning away someone with an emotional support animal or charging them more to keep the animal in their dwelling, the law doesn’t force them to assume liability for the creature. SB 1084 releases landlords of liability for damage done to their property and other people on the property caused by the emotional support animal and places it on the shoulders of the animal’s owner.
The protections also extend to prospective homebuyers, who are also protected from housing discrimination from a seller that may feel wary about the buyer’s emotional support animal.
If you believe you were unfairly denied housing after this law was passed, reach out to the Sarasota attorneys for rules on emotional support and comfort animals at The Edwards Law Firm, PL. Contact us online or call (800) 896-3619 for help
Do You Need Legal Representation?
The Edwards Law Firm, PL can provide legal advice and representation in Florida lawsuits involving emotional support animals. Our real estate litigation services can help you resolve disputes whether you’re a renter, buyer, landlord, or seller involved in a conflict regarding an emotional support animal.
Renters and buyers may feel their newly afforded rights are being ignored or violated by a property owner refusing to rent or sell to them; likewise, landlords and sellers might need help defending against such lawsuits or holding an animal owner accountable for damage to property or people.
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