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A flood of emotional support animals is prompting Michigan legislation

Lansing – University of Michigan housing officials and off-campus landlords are concerned about fraudulent letters of authorization for emotional support animals.

The bill, sponsored by Rep. Sarah Cambensi, D-Marquette, would penalize people who sell certificates online and protect homeowners from fraudulent claims. Known as the Emotional Support Animal Act, it passed the Michigan House in a 108-0 vote in late September.

Emotional support animals are animals that qualify under the US Fair Housing Act as a reasonable and necessary accommodation for a person with a disability to use and enjoy the residential property.

To have it on campus or in a rental property, people need documentation from a health care provider explaining the need for it, said Karlen Lehman, director of the University-based Michigan Property Managers Association. But the number of people getting fake IDs online has increased, he said.

“Now anyone can go online and fill out a survey to get a certificate,” Lehman said. “Even if a person has never seen a doctor or a therapist, they can enter their email address and a certificate will appear in their inbox very soon. , spend up to $200.”

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