so a guest shows up with a 'service animal', what are AirBnB's policies on that?

Level 2
St Augustine, FL

so a guest shows up with a 'service animal', what are AirBnB's policies on that?

51 Replies 51
Level 10
London, United Kingdom

It's unlikely that AirBnB's policy over-rides any local regualtions or laws. So in the UK for example, guide dogs and assistance dogs are entitlede to travel with, stay with, be with the person they are guiding at all times and it is illegal to deny them service because they are dependent on an assistance dog.

you're right 100%

Level 1
Denver, CO

The Americans with Disabilities Act states that no business shall deny someone services if they have a service animal with them. Therapy dogs are under another guideline altogether and don't have the same protections. There is a difference between the two.  For service animals, you should know you are only allowed to ask 2 questions to service animal owners: 1) is this animal YOUR service animal and 2) what service does your animal provide. After that, you are expected to provide them with the same service as you would anyone else. With that said, your guest with the service animal should definitely be letting the host know of the service animal before hand, and, if your specific place cannot accommodate a service animal, they would have the opportunity to find another airbnb host that does, therefore airbnb hasn't violated any laws. If they just "show up" and you cannot accommodate, I would notify airbnb immediately and it would be their responsibility to re-place them at a location that can accommodate. If you decide to allow the service animal, and they didn't let you know before hand, I would definitely put that in the review. They should be letting people know. Just like people with service animals do when they fly, etc. 

Would an emotional support dog qualify as a service animal or a therapy animal?


According to the airbnb website, Service animals and therapy animals (emotional support) are both listed under their heading of "Assistance Animals."....From what I've read in the airbnb info, it appears that you must accomodate any guests traveling with any assistance animal, whether it's a service animal or therapy animal. It also appears that you can't ask for documentation. (There are two questions you can ask.) Even though guests are encouraged to let the home owners know ahead of time---a guest can show up with an assistance animal (service or therapy) and the host cannot turn them away, even if your listing says "no pets." 

@Annette-And-Evan0There are the 2 questions for Service Animals, but I do not think there are any for Emotionl Support, well that is how I read it. Which I thought was a bot odd.


Yes, I think you are right... the two questions pertain to the Service Animals. 

So if you can't ask for documentation, anyone can say their pet is an "assistance animal" and they have to be accommodated. I'm glad I'm pet-friendly as this could be a mine-field.

Exactly, since there is really no way to stop them or validate them anyways, much better and easier to just allow pets. Get more bookings and kids are going to cause way more of a mess and more likely to cause damage than a traveling pet will ever be. And although you cannot charge extra fees for the animal, if it leaves an extra mess or damages something, you just charge the guest like you would for any other mess/damage. That is perfectly OK.

I know it is recommended to tell the host ahead of time, however a disable person is taking a chance of being discriminated against. 

I never disclose I have a service animal because federally I don't have to. 

As a guest, airbnb actually says you don’t need to inform your host on the reservation page. I agree that guests should inform but they risk being discriminated against and Airbnb doesn’t even suggest they do. This may be for legal reasons. 

This is a very good point. I have been discriminated against with my service dog the last three times I tried to book an airbnb. Twice my reservation was cancelled, and once it was not accepted (no other reason to turn me away - I'm a great guest with a good rating). I haven't booked with airbnb because of that - each time I disclosed up front as seemed right and courteous with me. I offered documentation (though it cannot be required, I can offer and I have more than ample documentation).   I don't want to arrive somewhere I am not welcome, and am disappointed that AirBnb doesn't require better education and arrangements for traveling with my service dog and hosts abiding by the applicable laws. (BTW - legitimate service dog and handler teams hate the fakes as much or more than anyone - they undermine integrity and respect for people who have done the hard hard work of having a well trained animal who is respectful in all environments and is about the best guest that you could have). 

I'm curious if you have reviews mentioning your service animal. If it's required to be with you at all times, but the guest with the disability doesn't have any reviews mentioning their service animal, isn't that a

little odd? I don't know the laws around reviews animals that assist their owners, but I would think it would be good to give your service animal credit for being a good guest too.