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

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Michelle2475
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
Rafael328
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.

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20 Replies 20
Deana4
Level 2
Denver, CO

I just experienced my first “service animal” reservation. I did not know that in advance, I was provided that information 5 min. Before the guest arrived. Our home is a “ no pets allow” listing. We have a large family dog already and she may not be welcoming to other animals and we simply don’t want the extra cleaning required. I currently don’t allow my own dog in our Airbnb guest space to keep it as clean and non-allergen as possible. There was dog hair all over our queen Duvet that has to be dry cleaned.. I did not charge a pet fee … because I don’t allow them. Would it be possible to get a “ no animals allowed” instead of “ no pets”. A service animal is not referred to as a pet! Also, I agree with the comments above that those who have Service Animal Support need to book only rentals that allow pets. I need help with this review???

@Deana4 The policy for your reference,

 

https://www.airbnb.ca/help/article/1869/assistance-animals

 

I see you note, in your descriptionand 'things to note', the presence of your dog on the property. You should also state that the safety of service animals or pets cannot be guaranteed, due to your dog, who may be triggered by other animals. You should also add this to your house rules. It's helpful to also insert an 'easter egg/code phrase' into your rules that you require guests to include in their initial message to you, that tips you off that guests have actually read them, so you don't get surprised last minute with an animal guest. 

 

Re the review, just do not mention the animal specifically, or the review may be removed. Be general and mention the lack of communication and attention to listing details (didn't let you know about the animal - common courtesy even with legit SA's, and failed to read your description) and not following rules. Future hosts may want to clarify important information ahead of booking. Mark accordingly in star categories. 

Rafael328
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.

I am also disabled, so yes I use that definition when someone says a service animal.

I don't reject.

I don't ask for proof. 

I do make the Guest aware that I do  apply what the ADA law defines as a service animal.

If the animal is needed to  aide you  just like I  need a wheelchair then the animal  is not locked up unattended in my rental.  If you need your animal then the animal goes to Walmart or Sightseeing to assist you.

A Service Animal is trained to have no unexpected aggression, destructive or  annoying habits.  A service Animal maybe trained to bark to get assistance, a animal is not a Service Animal if they bark all night because bored.

Don't get so focused on it being an animal.

I need a wheelchair as an aide the expectation is if I go out to the store then I use my aide device I don't leave it blocking a hallway or driveway while I walk the supermarket.

I just tell guests if you have any type of aide I just expect that you need the aide.and that by allowing your declared aide I will not be penalized.    

 

I have a friend who has a bnb who a 20 something booked and said at the last minute that she has an emotional support dog.   It has long black hair.   Is not trained to be a service dog.   She has no place for a dog to go potty, and doesn’t want dogs in her listing.   I wonder if many people have obtained pets during Covid and are tired of paying for accommodations while they travel for their dog - so are just saying they have an emotional support dog.   When I book a place for my kids, us  and their dogs to stay - I look for a dogs allowed listing.    I’m going to pay a deposit, follow the rules about no dogs on furniture etc.   I’m prepared to pay a little more and stay in a place that likely is dog friendly, meaning….there will be slobber, hair, dander, scratched floors and a faint smell of wet dog.   I feel like they don’t want to pay the deposit or stay in a place that has already been ruined by dogs.   I DO NOT want dogs in my listing.   At all.   I can’t believe Airbnb is not setting rules for those that take advantage.    I’m not looking forward to having to deal with this at some point.    

Christian3014
Level 1
Salt Lake City, UT

My listing has been blocked since last year due to a “complaint” I made about a guest who smoked cigarettes and pot in my home and also to my surprise had brought an “esa” with them during their stay. My daughter who has been in the hospital 3 times due to her athsma  is the reason I state No smoking and No pets allowed. Now I understand working animals… I do. However, not disclosing and arranging accommodations seems to me like hogwash. I SHOULD have the right to protect my daughter. I SHOULD have te right to know at least so I can prepare extra cleaning and costs associated. I’m so disappointed and my case now has been sent to a “special team” and there is no contact info for them and I’ve just been waiting for something??? Keep in mind… they stayed… I made a multi issue complaint and I got banned. Just for saying something. I even had pictures of pot on my end tables/coffee table with smoking trays! So it had to be just the comment of the animal. I was also a “superhost”