College freshman suffering from separation anxiety, take heart: The federal government says universities have an obligation to admit “emotional support” animals into school housing.
Unlike service animals, which are trained to perform tasks to assist people with disabilities, emotional support animals (dogs, mostly) provide therapy through companionship and affection.
Housing providers must offer people with disabilities a “reasonable accommodation” for emotional support animals under both the Fair Housing Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1974, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development said in a notice to its regional offices late last month.
The laws apply to a range of public and private housing, including dwellings “associated with a university or other place of education,” the notice says. The term “disability” is defined broadly as “a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities.”