We’ve updated our policy on pet fees for emotional support animals

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A pet-friendly space is one of the top amenities guests search for, which means welcoming four-legged friends can help you attract more bookings. Recently, we’ve rolled out pet fees and AirCover to make it easier to say “yes” to guests with pets. 


We’ve also changed our policy so you can charge a pet fee for emotional support animals, except in places where the law may prohibit it, like in California and New York. Service animals stay for free. You can read the new policy or get more info about adding a pet fee.

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27 Replies

Re: We’ve updated our policy on pet fees for emotional support animals

in
Bend, OR
Level 3

We were just told that a couple is brining their ESAs (two dogs). We explain the reasons we are not set up for dogs, so I feel a bit deceived. But my question is this. Are we allowed to charge a pet fee or not? The longer Airbnb ESA instructions say we may charge a fee as well as saying we may not charge a fee.

 

Do we inform the people now if there is a fee?

I don't like the way Airbnb is disrespecting the rights of the hosts.

Re: We’ve updated our policy on pet fees for emotional support animals

Online Community Manager in
London, United Kingdom
Online Community Manager

Hi @Tom-And-Karen1

 

You can charge a fee for ESAs, unless you are in a location where applicable law prohibits it. Your listing currently mentions pets are not allowed though, so if you'd like to charge a pet fee, you should make sure you to edit your listing to reflect that information. 🙂

 

Would you be able to let me know where you saw that misleading information please? I'd like to pass that on to the team so we can take a closer look at it. 

 

Thanks, 

 

Emilie

 

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Re: We’ve updated our policy on pet fees for emotional support animals

in
Kinlochleven, United Kingdom
Level 3

Hello. 

It is a double edged sword , because the guests do not need to make hosts aware of ESA animals. So that creates the dilemma of, how do hosts approach guests about extra charges prior to booking. We all know that guests do not read the full listing. 

What I have done is create a pre-emptive message, as soon as a guest whether requesting to book or instant book recieves. And in that message if states, under no circumstances do accept animals ( that way it ticks every box), and ask that they read the need to know on the listing.  On that listing , which is recommended by Airbnb, I have put the reason for my animal refusal based upon the policy stipulated by Airbnb. 

 

Re: We’ve updated our policy on pet fees for emotional support animals

in
Eunice, LA
Level 2

We get no support, no respect and no say in our Own homes!! This is total BS on airbnb's part, I don't think it's right for airbnb to demand we accept pets, especially when we have valid reasons for not doing so, there are pet friendly hotels in every State and area someone needs to visit, they should check those out when Knowing we don't allow pets, but they don't,  they do it because they somehow think they will "show us" for not allowing their pets and Airbnb will back them up 110%

Airbnb is fixing to become a part of my past, it's time to move on to a better platform!

Re: We’ve updated our policy on pet fees for emotional support animals

Level 2

There are plenty of pet friendly STR's for guests with pets to book. When you advertise "Not Pet Friendly" and someone brings a pet, service animal or not it is not fair to the guests who do not want to stay in a pet friendly property. There are a whole lot more guests who do not want a pet friendly property than do. Some people have allergies and other reasons they do not want to stay where animals have been. 

 

Re: We’ve updated our policy on pet fees for emotional support animals

in
Gretton, United Kingdom
Level 10

Please could someone explain how a hosts can distinguish between a service animal and an ESA? Do service animals have specific papers that show that they have had the required and extensive training to make them a service animal? Can hosts ask for these?

 

What is the situation, with any type of service animal, if the host/staff are allergic to the presence of animals. Does this provide an exemption? It is undeniable that the presence of a dog in a property, for a period of time, would create an allergic reaction  to anyone who may have to enter that property during or after the stay.

Re: We’ve updated our policy on pet fees for emotional support animals

Online Community Manager in
London, United Kingdom
Online Community Manager

Hi @Alexandra199

 

There's a bit more info on the distinction between service animals and ESAs on this page, as well as what happens  in case it is a risk for the Host to welcome any animals: 

 

  • Service Animal: A dog or miniature horse that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for people with disabilities.
  • Emotional Support Animal: An animal that provides companionship, relieves loneliness, or helps with depression, anxiety, or certain phobias but is not required to have special training to perform tasks that assist people with disabilities
  • Hosts are allowed to refuse certain unreasonable or unattainable requests that increase the safety risk to the Host or others

I hope this helps 🙂

 

Emilie

 

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Re: We’ve updated our policy on pet fees for emotional support animals

in
Gretton, United Kingdom
Level 10

Thanks Emilie but that doesn't answer my question. What documentation is there to show that the dog is a proper professionally trained service animal? What is there to stop a guest booking and saying they are bringing a service animal when they are just bringing a pet?

 

I am afraid i had this exact scenario happen to me, the guest booked and said they were bringing a Service Animal. I was forced by Airbnb to accept the reservation and the dog (a french bulldog) was not house trained, was left alone in the property and caused damage.

I want to know what I can do to avoid this happening again.

Re: We’ve updated our policy on pet fees for emotional support animals

in
Orono, ME
Level 10

@Alexandra199 There is no documentation and you cannot ask for anything of the sort. When a guest inquires about a service animal you can ask these two exact questions: (1) is the dog a service animal required because of a disability, and (2) what work or task has the dog been trained to perform.

 

You should then reiterate that the animal must be under the handler's control at all times and must accompany the guest at all times (i.e. cannot be left alone in the listing.) This will hopefully discourage those who are trying to pass their pet off as a service animal.

Re: We’ve updated our policy on pet fees for emotional support animals

in
Greece
Level 6

@Emilia42  great response

Re: We’ve updated our policy on pet fees for emotional support animals

in
Gretton, United Kingdom
Level 10

In the UK, properly trained guide dogs do have identification books. I checked with the Guide Dogs for the Blind organisation UK. These books are specifically to "support guide and assistance dog owners with their access to goods, facilities and services, as defined in the UK Equality Act 2010 or Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) 1995."

 

It would suggest, therefore, that in the UK there is specific documentation that can be requested for Guide dogs.

Re: We’ve updated our policy on pet fees for emotional support animals

in
Kinlochleven, United Kingdom
Level 3

Neither require specific papers. A service dog or ESA outwith Guide dogs, Epilepsy dogs. PSTD and a few others, as they require training under strict guidelines. But literally anyone can turn up with a great dane and state its a service dog. Ebay sell service dog jackets. 

BUT, thanks to the amendments to Airbnb policy that stipulates that shared space ( including garden) that causes welfare or health concerns to yourself or other animals can be refused. 

And you can cancel a booking if a service animal , ESA is left unattended, as thats a breach of policy. 

So for Airbnb to force you into breaching their own policy is beyond understanding. I hope you were compensated. 

Re: We’ve updated our policy on pet fees for emotional support animals

in
Saskatoon, Canada
Level 2

 I could not find anywhere that it even had a reference to ESA's in Airbnb that properly reflected and protected home owners according to ADA.

Airbnb kept sending me a reference to Service Animals, and tagged on the ending ESA. Airbnb gives ESA animals the same rights as a Service animal - which is legally incorrect in US. In the USA according to the ADA (Law) a homeowner has the right to request paperwork confirming an ESA, not a Service animal, which I respect. According to Airbnb hosts are not allowed to confirm an ESA in order to protect their property from a pet traveler. A pet is a pet until identified otherwise. There is a clear distinction between a Service Animal and an ESA by Law, but again, not with Airbnb. People can find pet friendly properties, however, they typically cost them a little more because they have to deal with pet-issues. My guest booked 1st then indicated after he had a pet (no confirmation was an ESA), then all 'hell' broke loose, through misunderstandings and my referral to legal policy versus Airbnb. Without any conversation, I was  accused of discrimination, which was heartbreaking, even though I had done nothing wrong in the eyes of the Law, and the dog was technically a 'pet'. I have no idea why Airbnb will not resolve for the benefit of the 1 thing they require for their program to exist? - a HOST WILLING TO MAKE THEIR PROPERTY AVAILABLE TO GUESTS IS THE SOLE FOUNDATION FOR THE EXISTENCE OF AIRBNB. According to ADA I have a right to ask for supporting documents for ESA, but not according to Airbnb, only according to Federal Law. I was in same boat, I told Airbnb that a pet is a pet until shown otherwise for an ESA. They told me I could not even ask about ESA verification? Legally I am allowed to, except when I have my property listed with Airbnb? I have guests booking knowing I am a pet-free property - due to allergies etc.  I would suggest Airbnb help HOSTS and should require  :   

1. Airbnb should help Guests to resource available animal/pet-friendly properties 1st. Advise those identifying with a non pet animal can utilize Airbnb support/help for assistance booking pet-friendly properties. Guests do know the difference. It is to everyone's benefit to utilize a property willing and able to host animals versus those who prefer not to, due to allergies etc.                                                                                                   2. Generally all potential Guests registered with Airbnb should be aware when registering that Hosts can charge extra fees for ESA's, with exclusion of 2 states (CA etc.).                                                                                                                                                         3. Guests identifying with an ESA MUST inform the Host prior to booking (This way the Host can indicate extra charges will be applied in the states that allow it) PRIOR to a Guest booking.                                                                                                                                      4. As Hosts have a right to charge extra fees for an ESA - If a Guest does not make the Host aware PRIOR to booking with an ESA, they can have their reservation cancelled or, alternatively notified additional charges could be added to their stay.                                 5. Guests who have an ESA/Service Animals could be identified in Airbnb (button or ?) and cannot Instant Book a non-pet friendly property with an ESA. I feel that would be fair and not discriminatory as a Host has a right to charge extra and cannot with potential Guests not revealing their animal/ESA until they have booked, allowing Host can be aware of extra measures required. I would personally have to block the property from rental use after every known ESA animal stay at least 2-3 days and have extensive cleaning completed due to allergies. In my case the Guest booked my more affordable property that does not allow pets 1st, subsequently after booking claiming they have an ESA, not having to be honest about the pet being a pet or ESA. I ended up being in trouble, I had a Superhost rating, accused of discrimination, had my reputation impacted. I would never discriminate against a Guest? The Guest only signed up to Airbnb this 1 time to book my place for a short time until his longtime apartment was available. He had never been on Airbnb before. He had all the help in the world from Airbnb, which I am glad for as he needed to find a pet friendly home, and there were some available, they cost about $20-$50 plus more/night, and he was clear he chose my property as it was nice and very good rate. Clearly there is a very bad history with Hosts being victimized by Airbnb Policy. What about protection for Hosts? Airbnb can easily include legal policy to protect Hosts from travelers who want their pets to be with them as well as prepare Hosts in the event they would be required to accommodate an animal in a non pet friendly property, only when there are no other resources(pet friendly properties) available via Airbnb. 

Re: We’ve updated our policy on pet fees for emotional support animals

in
La Ceiba, Honduras
Level 6

I would like to allow only small dogs for a fee. But no dinosaur dogs, Airbnb should have this option so it can be added as a disclaimer when people are about to book with the pet fee.

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