Posts Tagged ‘airbnb’

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. 

As stated in Airbnb’s Nondiscrimination Policy legitimate service dogs can stay at Airbnbs. 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

There are a number of people that require the assistance of a service dog. These specialized and highly trained canines provide the person with a disability the right most of us take for granted; to freely participate in all of the activities of life without judgment or discrimination.

However, there are still some establishments, like hotels, that are falling behind on the rights of these individuals. If you or someone you know is disabled and requires the aid of a service dog, the following information is important for you to know.

Can Hotels Charge for a Service Dog?

Under the ADA laws, the hotel cannot charge an extra fee for the service animal as they would another client with a pet. This also means you and your dog will be allowed in the public areas of the hotel, as well as having the right to a floor and room that are not normally designated for people traveling with pets.

What to Expect With Hotels and Service Dogs

When traveling with a service animal, according to the ADA, the hotel staff only has the right to ask you two questions;

Is your dog a service dog? What task(s) does your service dog provide?

If the task is apparent (seeing eye dog, wheelchair-related) the staff has no right to inquire about either the service dog or your disability. When dealing with ignorant hotel staff members, presenting your service dog certification and identification card can help alleviate tension. Remember, the staff members are only employees and may not be properly trained in dealing with service animals in the hotel.

In addition, the hotel staff still has to act according to the rules of conduct the general public should adhere to concerning a service dog. These include;

Not petting the dog Speaking to or teasing the dog No feeding the dog

The staff is also not required to help you perform any of the tasks related to the service dog such as taking it out to relieve itself, feeding, handling etc.

Following the Rules of the Hotel 

Under the ADA, persons with a disability do have a number of rights. However, you will still be expected to follow the rules of the hotel as they are set forth for all their visiting clients.

Your service dog must be under your control at all times, whether this is by the means of a leash, hand gestures or voice control, your dog cannot become unruly. In addition, if your service dog were to damage anything in the hotel room, you are still liable for the cost of those damages.

Hotel Stays with Your Service Dog

Just because you have a disability doesn’t mean you should be stripped of your rights to stay in a hotel with your service dog. Under the ADA, hotels cannot refuse you and your service canine accommodations and they cannot ask you personal questions about your condition or your dog’s certification. If an improperly trained hotel staff member makes any of these mistakes, don’t hesitate to ask for the manager.

Staying at an AirBNB with Your Service Dog

As AirBNB becomes more popular with travelers, people have asked us if service dogs are allowed in AirBNB rentals. AirBNB hosts in the United States must allow service animals if they are renting out the entire home or apartment to an AirBNB guest. AirBNB’s nondiscrimination policy requires hosts to allow all service animals into their home unless local laws restrict access for service animals. Please research your intentional destination before booking an AirBNB with your service dog.

Service Dogs Defined Under the ADA

The ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) was established in 1990 and was put into place as a way to prevent establishments from discriminating against those people with a physical or mental disability, which also includes any companion they may have along for help and support. However, those “companions” began moving away from humans to the animal world and many people used this policy to treat their exotic pets such as reptiles, ferrets, pigs and parrots as “service animals.”

To stop people from taking advantage of the true nature of the ADA, amendments have been made to their policies. These changes state only dogs would be considered a service animal and on March 15th, 2011 those changes became official.

However, under the ADA definition, even the service dog will be scrutinized. Their policies state the dog must be there to directly help the person with a disability. This means the canine aids in areas such as pulling a wheelchair, guiding the person safely, alerting to seizures or medications and other services that are needed for the person’s health and well-being.

Although, under the ADA policy, they also ask that establishments make reasonable modifications to also allow the use of miniature horses as a service animal, as these are becoming more popular over time.