Proposed Emotional Support Animal Bill threatens housing rights for people with disabilities

Legislative bills have been presented in the Michigan Senate and House of Representatives that, if passed, would significantly hinder the ability of people with disabilities to have emotional support animals (ESA) as a reasonable accommodation for their disability in residential housing, including apartments, dorms, condominiums and mobile home parks, with no pet policies. The specific bills are Senate Bills 608, 609 & 610 and House Bills 4910 & 4911 (see links below).

These bills would create significant barriers to people with disabilities in finding housing by:

  • Requiring that a licensed healthcare provider certify the need for an ESA and requiring recertification annually, which can create financial hardship, jeopardize healthcare coverage, and act as a procedural deterrent for people with disabilities.
  • Establishing a 6-month evaluation/waiting period for being allowed an ESA thereby creating gaps in needed support and housing.
  • Creating criminal penalties for falsifying the need for an ESA which will act a as a significant deterrent to certification.
  • Establishing a new basis for eviction if new requirements are not met.

Disability Network Southwest Michigan and other disability related agencies throughout Michigan have sent a letter of opposition to Michigan Legislators urging them not to support the proposed bills. Follow this link to download Disability Network Southwest Michigan’s ESA House Bills letter of opposition.

You can follow the progress of these bills on the Michigan Legislature website. Click the links below and enter the bill number to learn more about each bill and to track their action and progress:

Michigan House of Representatives Bills 4910 & 4911

Michigan Senate Bills 608, 609 & 610