In an attempt to address what many see as a significant problem with people skirting limits on pets in community associations through all-too-easily obtained letters from physicians stating that an animal is needed for service or emotional support, Representative MacGregor has recently introduced SB 663, which has been assigned to the Senate Committee on Local Government.
The bill would:
- Criminalize false claims of need for emotional support and service animals to landlords and housing providers (community associations are considered housing providers in this context)
- Require treatment for 6 months before notarized certification of disability by physician
- Require annual recertification if requested
- Require the physician maintain a physical office space where patients are regularly treated
- Allow complaints of alleged false claims to be reported to the Michigan Dept. of Civil Rights, which may forward them to law enforcement
We might anticipate that advocacy groups for the disabled would oppose at least some aspects of this bill, especially the 6-month treatment requirement. It would effectively create a waiting period for some disabled people to move into a new home, which likely would be found by the courts to conflict with state and federal fair housing laws.