HUD Fair Housing Act: Service and Therapy Animals in Student Housing
Published: 2015-02-26 - Updated: 2021-09-02
Author: Disabled World | Contact: Disabled World (Disabled-World.com)
Synopsis: Campus administrators of student housing are facing growing number of lawsuits regarding service animals in their premises. In April 2013, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) issued notice that public universities need to comply with the Fair Housing Act, which permits emotional support animals into college dormitories and residence halls. Emotional support animals provide therapeutic benefit, such as alleviating or mitigating some symptoms of disability. The tag of emotional support animals may extend beyond cats and dogs to include other animals.
The HUD's recent notice on the Fair Housing Act (FHA) and the American with Disabilities Act (ADA)(1) have come into the limelight with the growing lawsuits that campus administrators of student housing are facing regarding permissible animals in their premises.
A growing number of people want to take their emotional support animals with them to places that traditionally do not allow animals, such as airplanes, taxis, restaurants etc. This phenomenon is also on the rise in student housing, with many students claiming that their pets are emotional support animals.
Emotional support animals are companion animals that provide therapeutic benefit, such as alleviating or mitigating some symptoms of disability, to an individual with a mental or psychiatric disability. The tag of emotional support animals may extend beyond cats and dogs to include other animals. In order to have an emotional support animal, one needs a note from a physician or other medical professional stating that the person has a verifiable disability and that the emotional support animal provides a benefit for the individual with the disability.
Federal laws like the ADA and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act as well as state laws in some instances have long defined the rights of individuals with disabilities to gain entry for their service animals. However, unlike Service Animals that are trained to assist persons with disabilities, emotional support animals do not need specific training and may cause problems that a service animal would not.
In April 2013, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has issued notice that public universities need to comply with the Fair Housing Act, which permits emotional support animals into college dormitories and residence halls. There have been several high profile enforcement actions by HUD against colleges(2), and campus administrators must understand the limits and risks associated with the HUD's directive.
In light of recent high profile claims, the question facing colleges and universities is whether they are permitted to enforce 'no pet' policies when a claim is made that the animal in question is needed for emotional support.
(1) U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, April 25, 2013, Notice - FHEO-2013-01, accessed on 26th February 2015 from portal.hud.gov/hudportal/documents/huddocid=servanimals_ntcfheo2013-01.pdf
(2) The Americans With Disability Act (1990), Title III, Section 36.302(c) Service Animals, (as amended by the final rule published on September 15, 2010), accessed on 26th February 2015, from www.ada.gov/regs2010/titleIII_2010/titleIII_2010_regulations.htm#a304
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Cite This Page (APA): Disabled World. (2015, February 26). HUD Fair Housing Act: Service and Therapy Animals in Student Housing. Disabled World. Retrieved October 16, 2021 from www.disabled-world.com/disability/serviceanimals/hud.php