If you want your pet to be your emotional support animal (ESA) in Florida, you need to get an ESA letter. This article is for residents of Florida who are looking for the best way to get a Florida-compliant ESA letter. 

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ESA Rules in Florida

ESA owners are protected in every state under the federal Fair Housing Act, but Florida has some additional, unique state laws. In Florida, it is a crime to pretend your pet is an emotional support animal without the proper documentation. 

To avoid legal consequences, you should qualify for an emotional support animal by getting a compliant ESA letter. An ESA letter is a signed letter from a licensed healthcare professional. If you live in Florida, your ESA letter should come from a provider who is licensed to practice in Florida. 

Documents like registrations, ID cards, patches, or certificates will not work if you are trying to get an ESA status for your pet in Florida. You must have a signed letter recommending an ESA from a licensed therapist or doctor. 

The Best Place to Get an ESA Letter in Florida 

If you live in Florida, you can get an ESA letter from either an in-person visit with a healthcare professional or online. Regardless of which option you choose, you should pick someone with experience with ESA evaluations and writing ESA letters. 

For Florida residents who want to get an ESA letter online, there is no better option than ESA Doctors. ESA Doctors has worked successfully with residents across the state, including the Jacksonville, Miami, Tampa, Orlando, and St. Petersburg metropolitan areas. 

ESA Doctors works with healthcare professionals who are licensed to work with Florida residents. Their clients have successfully used their ESA letters with housing providers throughout the state of Florida. These professionals offer their services remotely, so there is no need to schedule in-person office visits. 

With ESA Doctors, you can see if you qualify for an ESA from the comfort of your home.

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The Benefits of Having an ESA in Florida 

If you are the owner of an emotional support animal, you are protected against housing discrimination under federal and state law. ESA owners in Florida enjoy the following benefits:

  • Protection against housing discrimination by landlords, HOAs, condo associations, and co-ops.
  • Exemption from pet fees and deposits.
  • Exemption from rules restricting pet size, weight, and breed. 

Florida residents can only take advantage of these benefits if they have an ESA letter from a licensed healthcare professional. 

Florida Cases Involving Emotional Support Animals 

Housing providers in Florida can face serious legal consequences if they do not reasonably accommodate ESA owners. There have been numerous lawsuits in Florida where landlords were punished for not complying with ESA rules. 

In one case, a tenant sued his condominium association when they enforced a 25-pound pet weight limit against his emotional support dog. The tenant was awarded thousands of dollars in damages and attorneys’ fees. 

In another case, a tenant’s request to live with their ESA was denied because they owned a pit bull. The court found that such a rule violated the federal Fair Housing Act by permitting a discriminatory housing practice. 

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By getting an ESA Letter that is Florida-compliant, you and your ESA can live life to the fullest in Florida.

Flying to/from Florida with an Emotional Support Animal 

If you are a frequent flier at Miami International, Orlando International, Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International, Tampa International, or another Florida airport, you may be wondering if you can fly with your emotional support animal.

Unfortunately, due to rule changes by the U.S. Department of Transportation, emotional support animals are no longer allowed on flights. The only type of assistance animal for mental health issues allowed to board the cabin is a psychiatric service dog.

Psychiatric service dogs help people with mental health disabilities by performing a job or task. They are different from ESAs because ESAs do not require any individualized training. PSDs are allowed to board flights free of charge and are exempt from other pet restrictions. 

A PSD letter can help determine whether you have an eligible disability for owning a psychiatric service dog. To fly with a PSD, you need to complete and submit a special DOT Form prior to your flight. 

If you are interested in a Psychiatric Service Dog Letter, we can connect you with a licensed healthcare provider online.

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