AirBNB needs to revisit their Service Pet/Emotional Support Pet policies.

Status changed to: New

My guest suite has a posted "No Pets" policy.  I have had two guests out of 24 bring their pets with them. One in the guise of an "Emotional Support Animal" and the other was shamefully impersonating a service dog. 

I have NO problem allowing a LEGITIMATE service animal to stay in my suite, but I do have a problem with so-called "emotional support dogs" and fraudulent service dogs. This loophole is being exploited by guests forcing us to accept their pets in spite of our "No Pets" policy.

While I understand we can only ask if a trained SERVICE animal is for a disability and what is the animal trained to do, we cannot ask questions to differentiate a legitimate "ESD" from a pet. We should be able to ask for the prescription that was issued by a physician because that is the ONLY thing that differentiates a pet from an ESD.  

I respectfully request the following from AirBNB:

1. Please change your policy with regards to Emotional Support Animals, and only permit legitimate Service Animals.  Eliminate the requirement that hosts accept Emotional Support Animals, or allow us to charge a pet deposit for ESDs (NOT Service Dogs).
2. Please also add language that states if the service animal is determined to be an imposter, the host has the right to either, a) request the guest remove the animal from the premises, or b) charge a $100 Unauthorized Pet Fee.

The so-called "service animal" that recently stayed with me was a deaf and blind ancient mutt that my guest had just acquired from someone who went into assisted living. And they bought a cute counterfeit "service dog" vest off the internet. This "service dog" wandered wherever it wanted, off leash, and had to be chased down more than once. The dog clearly had zero training for any purpose and the guest was clearly exploiting the loophole.

The "Emotional Support Dog" was left behind in my suite while my guests went out sightseeing. The dog laid on all of my furniture, shedding everywhere. If the guests can leave the dog behind while they sightsee, they can leave the dog at home while on vacation.

As a host, I should have recourse against these people who exploit the loophole, and AirBNB should do something to close the loophole by not requiring hosts to accept an ESD since they are NOT protected under the ADA:  

And this is from the ADA: 

"If you're an individual with an emotional or psychological disability- emotional support animals can be an excellent companion. While emotional support animals are used as part of some medical treatment plans, they are not considered service animals under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).Nov 11, 2016"
Larisa4 in
Washington, DC
Level 8

I agree. HUD says that requiring documentation is perfectly legal for an ESD: "HUD says that a person seeking the accommodation must submit reliable documentation of the disability and disability-related need for the assistance animal if the disability is not known or readily-apparent. This documentation is usually a letter from a medical doctor or treating therapist who can establish the disability and need for the assistance animal. " 


It seems reasonable that if the guest is not willing to provide the domentation within the 24 hour host cancellation window, that the host could cancel under the reason of not being comfortable with the guest.


I am going to add to my 3 of 5 non-pet friendly listings  that documentation will be required so that the guest knows what to expect.

Christine615 in
Level 10

Airbnb's policy puts owners with allergies at risk and does not comply with Federal law on ADA issues:

From an article posted on another thread:  Click link to article

Does the ADA apply to short-term vacation rentals?

     Again, there is no clear-cut answer and each situation should be analyzed on a case-by-case basis. Generally, if the accommodation is akin to a hotel, it will likely fall under the ADA.

     Individually-owned residential condominiums units are generally not considered “public accommodations” subject to the ADA Champlin v. Sovereign Residential Servs., 2008 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 115274 (M.D. Fla). However, a condominium building may be considered a public accommodation if it is “virtually indistinguishable from a hotel.” Id. The Court in Champlin discussed Access 4 All, Inc. v. Atlantic Hotel Condominium Association, 2005 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 41600 (S.D. Fla.), in which a condominium building was in fact considered a public accommodation. In that case, there was no governing condominium association board, certain units were operated as hotel units, the governing documents defined the hotel units, a separate entity was retained to manage room reservations, and every unit owner had the option to include his or her unit in the rental program.

     An individually-owned condominium unit that is rented out as a short-term vacation rental of 30 days or less arguably does not fall under the ADA if the condominium building is not operated like a hotel.


     Neither the FHA nor the ADA explicitly exclude short-term vacation rentals. However, the FHA does not apply to housing that is so temporary as to be “transient,” and the ADA only applies to “hotel-like” public accommodations. Thus, there is some gray area surrounding the applicability of the FHA and ADA to short-term rentals, such as vacation rentals. Arguably, neither the FHA nor the ADA apply to a “transient” vacation rental of a condominium unit that is not run like a hotel (i.e., the occupant has reserved a particular unit, there are no separate “hotel units,” no walk-in reservations, no lease or deposit, etc.)....:

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