Can I Stay at an Airbnb with My Service Dog?
Airbnb has exploded in the past few years. These vacation rentals are a favorite for families and singles alike as they offer the comforts of home without the hassle of a hotel lobby. If you’re thinking about traveling with your service dog, you might find yourself wondering if you can stay at an Airbnb with your service dog.
Peruse the Airbnb website, and you’re bound to find at least one or two homes that pique your interest. If your questions about service dogs are keeping you from booking an Airbnb stay, then continue reading. You may find the answers you’re looking for.
Airbnb Hosts Allow Service Animals
Airbnb utilizes a strict “Nondiscrimination Policy” that instructs the hosts to reasonably accommodate reservations with service animals. Service animals are not pets. Therefore, a host must allow a service animal to stay even if their listing states that “no pets” are allowed. Like hotels, Airbnb must follow ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act), a federal law that prevents discrimination against people with physical or mental disabilities. In short, service animals are welcome at Airbnb.
How Does Airbnb Define a Service Animal?
Airbnb places service animals under the umbrella term of “assistance animal.” According to Airbnb, assistance animals include service animals and emotional support animals (ESA) and fall under Airbnb’s Nondiscrimination Policy. It states that a service animal is a dog that receives training to perform a task to help a person with a disability. Some examples of service animal tasks are:
- Helping someone who is vision impaired.
- Alerting people who have a hearing impairment.
- Assisting someone who has a seizure disorder.
- Retrieving items that have fallen.
- Helping someone with a neurological or psychiatric illness by preventing destructive actions.
- Alerting people with diabetes of dangerous blood sugar levels.
An emotional support animal, on the other hand, does not receive training to complete a task, but they are part of a person’s medical treatment and provide vital comfort. Whether they qualify as service animals or ESA, all assistance animals can stay at an Airbnb with their handler.
Can an Airbnb Host Deny a Service Animal?
For the most part, an Airbnb host may not refuse a service animal. A service animal can be denied or removed from the property for the following reasons:
- If an animal is not under the control of its handler, and measures the handler takes are not effective.
- If an animal is not housebroken.
However, if an Airbnb is a shared space and a service animal would create a health hazard to the host or others, Airbnb will not require the host to allow a service animal. Airbnb encourages their hosts to disclose information about shared spaces, health concerns, and service animals within their listing. By doing so, the host provides future guests with enough information to decide what’s best for them.
If a host must ask to remove a service animal for the above reasons, the guest must receive an offer to stay on the premises without the service animal. Also, due to safety concerns, assistance animals must always have supervision.
Can an Airbnb Host Ask for Documentation?
Documentation isn’t required for a service animal to stay at an Airbnb. However, a host may ask the following two questions:
- What task is the service animal trained to do?
- Is the service animal required because of a disability?
Disclosure of the presence of a service animal isn’t necessary before booking an Airbnb. However, the company encourages guests to communicate their animals’ presence when booking to foster an environment of transparency. In addition, when traveling overseas and staying at an Airbnb with a service animal, it’s vital to check on the service animal laws for that country.
Can an Airbnb Host Ask For Extra Fees?
An Airbnb host cannot charge pet fees or additional fees because of a service animal’s presence. They are not allowed to charge any fees that pertain to the service animal. When it comes to damages or repairs, any costs incurred should align with any damages or injuries that other guests without a service animal or pet would be held responsible for.
What Should You Do if You Were Denied a Reservation Because of a Service Animal?
Airbnb seeks to welcome all people and does not condone any types of discrimination. If a customer feels they’ve experienced discrimination due to their service dog or condition, they can submit a report to the company through a form.