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Do Florida landlords need to allow emotional support animals?

On Behalf of | Nov 17, 2023 | Landlord-Tennant

Landlords, employers and other businesses have had to accommodate individuals with specialty-trained service animals for decades. In recent years, more people than ever before have sought special accommodations for animals that they own. 

Many people will claim that their pets are actually emotional support animals. Unlike service animals, emotional support animals do not have to undergo training or testing. The rules also do not limit people to only using dogs as emotional support animals. Cats, birds and a variety of other pets could be emotional support animals. 

Do Florida landlords need to accommodate emotional support animals? 

Federal rules mandate certain accommodations

Federal laws about disabling medical conditions require that businesses, including landlords, provide reasonable accommodations to help people live normal lives. Allowing someone with a disabling mental health condition to interact with an emotional support animal could stave off depression or post-traumatic stress disorder. Therefore, those with a real need for the comfort of an animal can reasonably expect that a landlord would accommodate their emotional support animals

Typically, someone with an emotional support animal should not have to pay extra to have the animal live in a rental home as they might have to do for a pet. They would not have to worry about rental limitations the way that pet owners do, as many landlords do not allow people to have pets on the premises at all. Disagreements about emotional support animals can often become quite heated, with landlords worried about property damage and tenants worried about their quality of life. 

Reviewing the details of the situation carefully can help people better navigate a conflict related to an emotional support animal, which could potentially culminate in a lawsuit.