New clarifications from Airbnb on service animals/emotional support animals AKA pets

Level 8
Massachusetts, United States

New clarifications from Airbnb on service animals/emotional support animals AKA pets

I just read an email from Airbnb about the policy regarding animals. 


After having my last guest sneak in a pet - he claimed was an emotional support animal without documentation and then admitted it was not an emotional support animal.  He was a former host so he knew full well what he was doing and there are also many pet friendly houses in the area so no excuse!  Dumb ass didn't even read the listing that clearly discloses a camera at the front door so was shocked that he was caught.  It was a long stressful weekend.  So, to learn that not only are they no required to disclosed but also do not need to verify is extremely upsetting.  Not only do I not want to have my house destroyed, peed in, etc. they say we cannot even charge an extra fee.  Who is going to pay the $1,200 I paid this year to have all of my carpets and furniture professionally cleaned?  You cannot get hair/fur and urine out of furniture and carpet - EVER.  "Wear and tear" does not take into account that a couch I bought a year ago could last 5-10 years but I get next to nothing for replacement if it is damaged beyond repair or cleaning. 


No one recognizes that there is no such thing as a hypoallergenic pet - people are allergic to the dander not the hair.  Add to that dirty paws everywhere!  People who book an Airbnb that have allergies do not rent a pet friendly home.  If someone brings "an emotional support" cat not only would I have trouble breathing and another guest may as well.  It could cause a medical emergency.  If you have severe allergies you would understand.  Can you imagine renting a pet free home and then end up in the hospital because it was not truly pet free?  Who is going to be responsible for that?  We are!


I understand they are claiming they are going with non-discrimination etc. but they are not.  Even airlines are now requiring proof.  They are catering to the guest who wants to pass off a pet as a support animal.  As always, it's about making the guests happy and give them free reign to break the rules.


And this folks is why I'm selling my rental!

1 Best Answer
Level 2
Washington, DC

I am in agreement with most of the posts in this conversation.  There are plenty of options for dogs that truly meet the definition and standards of the American with Disabilities Act (ADA).  As a veteran with disabilities, I believe that Airbnb rules that impose such a broad spectrum of "animals" onto unwilling hosts really undermine the intent of the law and the protections offered to those with disabilities. All Airbnb did was open the gates for anyone with a pet or animal without any regard for the preferences of hosts. 


BTW, here is the definition of service animal, as defined in the ADA:  


Service animals are defined as dogs that are individually trained to do work or perform tasks for people with disabilities. Examples of such work or tasks include guiding people who are blind, alerting people who are deaf, pulling a wheelchair, alerting and protecting a person who is having a seizure, reminding a person with mental illness to take prescribed medications, calming a person with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) during an anxiety attack, or performing other duties. Service animals are working animals, not pets. The work or task a dog has been trained to provide must be directly related to the person’s disability. Dogs whose sole function is to provide comfort or emotional support do not qualify as service animals under the ADA.

View Best Answer in original post

20 Replies 20
Level 10
Sayulita, Mexico

@Michelle2475  None of this is new information. Airbnb has always had that ESA and service animal policy. 


The only hosts who can reject them are home-share hosts.

Does anyone know if exterior shared areas count as "shared spaces" for the exemption to the service animal policy? I have shared yard and parking areas for my upstairs and downstairs units, but that is the only shared area. I have a message in to Airbnb but it may take them weeks to get back to me. Thanks for any info.

I'd love to know this as well.


Level 10
Alberta, Canada

@Michelle2475 None of what you describe is new. Can you share a link to info from the email you refer to, or copy it here?

Level 8
Massachusetts, United States

@Colleen253 I've tried multiple times to reply to you and each time it comes back with an error and won't post but will allow me to reply to others.  Hopefully this one will post!  Yes, you are correct.  I was looking at the accessibility email and then clicked on the link below that on the site.  It has either been expanded since I first joined or I was just unaware there was such a policy.  


I mean no disrespect to anyone.  However, I strongly object to being forced to subject myself and future guest to allergy attacks that can be severe and life threatening.  In all actuality this means that there is no such thing as a pet free home.  Anyone can claim it's a service or emotional support animal.  There is no proof required.  All you have to do is to claim it and you can stay anywhere you want. 


If an animal enters my home I will be forced to spend thousands in rug, furniture etc. cleaning all for an $800 (or less) profit.  Airbnb will not pay to replace my carpets or furniture even under host protection because they will claim "wear and tear".  Even if they pay any portion I would still be out a substantial amount of money for just one guest.  

@Michelle2475 Thanks for clarifying! Just wanted to make sure I wasn’t missing anything new. 

For the guest that claimed ESA when it wasn’t, about the only recourse you have is the review. Mention inability to observe house rules/low stars/would not host again, not the animal. Otherwise Airbnb may remove the review if the guest claims ESA to them.


Level 10
Arkansas, United States



You’re absolutely correct about the airlines. Other businesses such as restaurants are doing it as well. They have good reasons for doing so.


 I suffer from PTSD that is rather severe at times and I do have a very large, trained and documented, service dog who has helped me when things were very dicey, but we have never attempted to force ourselves on anyone who appeared to be at all apprehensive.


 When I feel that I cannot function I don’t go on vacation or eat in restaurants.


And quite frankly, my wife’s company works every bit as effectively, and no one objects to her.

Level 8
Massachusetts, United States

@Brian2036 I also have real anxiety but would not expect anyone to put their health in jeopardy (allergies) because of it.  I appreciate that you are aware it could present a problem.  As far as work, I'm sure people don't object but please realize that no one can object less they be seen as uncaring etc. and may lose their job based on being seen to be discriminating.  

Level 10
Zagreb, Croatia

@Michelle2475you are right, if listing doesn't accept pets then it should be honored. There is always some other listing where pets are welcomed


Our experience with hosting guests with dogs is great... but with kids is terrible, they always peed in bed.



There were at least six pet friendly homes in the area when this awful situation happened.  It came down to the guest wanted to bring his pet and knew there was nothing I could do.

I have every guest sign my rental agreement which clearly states my pet policy and the fact that damages and cleaning will be charged for any pets brought to the home without permission. I myself have an unfortunately severe allergy to many dogs, so I have to protect my property for myself and other guests who suffer from allergies. I know it’s a numbers game for Airbnb, so they don’t care. But, an allergic reaction that causes migraines or anaphylactic shock is as legitimate a medical condition, and more immediately serious, than is a person who travels with an emotional support animal. Airbnb should really give us an allergy free home badge and highlight that we exist, and go the extra mile to make our home safe for allergy sufferers.

I agree! Our cottage is specifically chosen on many occasions because we do not allow pets. I just received an inquiry from a guest if I will accept he and his dog.  Just trying to figure out how to reply to him.  So frustrating!

ugh, tread carefully.  My friend just got slapped with a 35,000 civil rights lawsuit for asking for a pet deposit for a "service dog" that showed up unannounced at 9:00 PM.  Just for asking for a pet deposit!  I've looked into the guests social media and it she purposely looks for non-pet friendly locations so she doesn't have to deal with host's pets.  There are people out there trying to find victims to sue and plenty of lawyers willing to represent them.  (This is California as well)

@Branka-and-Silvia0 Families are the worst!  I'm finding groups of younger people do less damage than those with kids.  My daughter keeps reminding me that people just don't care about you or your home.