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College student wins in effort to keep service cat in dorm

Michigan residents who are disabled have protections under the federal Fair Housing Act. Under the law, landlords must offer reasonable accommodations to people who are disabled.

This act came into play when a disabled college student sued North Carolina State University in 2016 for discrimination. The student, who lives in student housing, sued after the university refused to allow her emotional support cat to stay in her dorm room. She recently reached a settlement with the university.

According to the plaintiff, allowing the cat to stay in her dorm room was a reasonable accommodation for her disability under the FHA. The university eventually settled with her, allowing her support cat to remain in her room and paying her a settlement of $3,000. Like employers, landlords are prohibited from discriminating against people on the basis of their disabilities. In addition, landlords are supposed to provide reasonable accommodations unless doing so would cause them substantial harm.

People who have disabilities must be reasonably accommodated in their housing by their landlords. In some cases, this includes having the ability to keep service animals even if the landlords normally do not allow pets. People who feel that they have been discriminated against on the basis of their disabilities might benefit by talking to civil rights lawyers. Attorneys may evaluate the cases and provide clients with assessments of whether or not their rights have been violated under the state and federal laws. If they have, the attorneys may work to protect their clients’ rights. They may negotiate with the other parties to secure favorable resolutions to the disputes. If resolutions are not possible, they may litigate the legal matters in court.