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CALL - Powered by Becker & Poliakoff / Get Involved  / Lobbying Initiatives / Emotional Support Animal (ESA)

EMOTIONAL SUPPORT ANIMAL (ESA) LOBBYING INITIATIVE

For the 2018 Legislative Session, Becker & Poliakoff’s Community Association Leadership Lobby’s (CALL) primary targeted lobbying initiative will address a growing topic of concern for all types of shared ownership communities in Florida: fraudulent emotional support animal (ESA) requests.

Far too many associations are required to spend limited financial resources on evaluating fraudulent ESA requests. In fact, the typical 200-unit condominium building receives five or more requests every year, some of which are patently fraudulent, and the board is required to evaluate each request with the advice of legal counsel often spending significant money in the process. CALL’s ESA Lobby is looking to inject some clarity and common sense into the process by which ESA requests are made, evaluated and approved or denied. Our two primary goals are to:

  1. Reduce the number of fraudulent requests by establishing minimum standards which would require an in-person physician visit which occurs within a reasonable time period prior to the accommodation request being made.
  2. Deter fraudulent requests by punishing those who would submit such requests, including medical professionals who issue fraudulent letters and the individuals who attempt to use those letters to obtain a reasonable accommodation.

We would like to be very clear on this point: CALL’s ESA lobbying initiative is not anti-pet; it is anti-fraud. The proliferation of fraudulent requests for accommodation has actually had a negative effect on persons with disabilities who submit legitimate requests and CALL’s push to rein in abuse is designed to bolster the legitimate need for service and support animals.

Former State Senator and B&P shareholder Ellyn Bogdanoff, who was the lead lobbyist on our successful effort to pass ELSS legislation through the Florida State Legislature in 2017, only to have it vetoed by Governor Scott, will take the lead on CALL’s ESA effort. All lobby participants will receive regular updates from Ellyn starting in January and have access to Ellyn throughout the process. We strongly encourage you to become involved in the legislative process that shapes your communities.

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