By The Hospitable Team
If you are renting out your property on Airbnb, there’s a good chance you may come across guests traveling with emotional support animals (ESA). Can you refuse bookings to such guests, or do you need to accommodate them even if you choose to keep your listing pet-free?
In this blog post, we’ll take a closer look at the Airbnb ESA policy so that you know how to comply with it. Here you’ll find answers to the most commonly asked questions about emotional support and service animals in Airbnb rentals.
What Is Airbnb Pet Policy?
Airbnb makes it clear that hosts don’t need to accommodate pets. So it’s up to you as a host to define your rental as pet-friendly or pet-free. But you should state your listing’s pet policy clearly in the house rules section. It’s also recommended to remind your guests about your house rules requirements in messages that you send them before their stay.
Open communication with your guests is essential to providing them with a pleasant experience, although guest messaging is very time-consuming. Many hosts choose to automate this routine task using vacation rental software like Hospitable.
Have conversations with your guests even when you sleep.
Airbnb also has a pet filter, which guests can use when searching for properties that allow pets. This filter makes it easier for guests to search for pet-friendly places to stay and avoid last-minute changes and cancellations.
Hosting pets isn’t always possible, but pet-friendly stays are one of the most popular searches among travelers. So if you can make your space pet-friendly, you’ll be able to attract more potential guests and get more bookings. You can also choose to add a pet fee to your nightly price to cover the cost of additional cleaning.
Airbnb and Service Dogs
Service animals are usually dogs, although miniature horses can also qualify. They are individually trained to do work or perform tasks for people with disabilities, for example, assisting people with impaired vision.
Service animals are not considered pets and are protected under the Americans with Disabilities Act. They are allowed to go places with their owner that other animals are not, for example, into buses, restaurants, and short-term rental units.
Speaking about Airbnb and service dogs, travelers are allowed to be accompanied by them during a stay. Keep in mind that guests are not required to disclose the presence of a service animal before booking. And under the Airbnb Non-discrimination Policy, hosts are not allowed to charge more in fees for guests with disabilities, including pet fees when the guest has a service animal.
That means you must always allow a service animal to accompany its owner during a stay, and you can’t charge a pet fee for that. Moreover, in the US, guests don’t need to provide any documentation for a service animal. If the guest says they have a service animal, you can only ask the following:
- Whether the guest requires their service animal because of a disability
- What work or task the service animal has been trained to perform
But what if you or members of your family have allergies? That’s the most common example of a service animal posing a health or safety threat, so you may qualify for an exemption. But Airbnb won’t simply accept a claim that you suffer from allergies—they’ll ask for medical proof.
What will happen if you refuse a reservation because of a service animal?
Airbnb aims to make all its customers feel welcome, so the company strictly stands against discrimination. If a guest feels they’ve experienced discrimination because you denied them a booking due to their service dog or condition, they can submit a report to the company. Airbnb is very strict about hosts complying with their rules, so it will take necessary steps to maintain their standards, including banning your rental property from the platform.
But guests are expected to keep control of their service animal’s behavior, ensure the animal is house-trained, and not leave it alone in the listing. And hosts have the right to request compensation if the animal caused damage to the property beyond the ordinary wear and tear.
Additionally, there is AirCover for Hosts, which gives you $1 million in damage protection. Airbnb expanded the coverage, and now it includes new protections for pet damage, deep cleaning, and more.
Creating an animal-friendly Airbnb could benefit your STR business because it helps increase your customer reach. As only about 5% of Aibnbs are animal-friendly, allowing pets could make your listing more popular and land you more bookings. Additionally, accommodating service dogs at Airbnb helps enhance the guest experience. And happy guests are more likely to recommend your property to other travelers and leave positive reviews.
Allowing pets on your property can help you attract more guests and grow a successful business. And automating your operations with vacation rental tools like Hospitable will help you make your business more efficient. With Hospitable, you can automate almost all aspects of managing your listing.
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Emotional Support Animal on Airbnb: What Are the Policies?
Emotional support animals serving people with mental health issues differ from regular pets and service animals. An emotional support animal (ESA) is an animal that provides companionship, relieves loneliness, or helps with depression, anxiety, or certain phobias. But emotional support animals aren’t trained to perform specific tasks to assist people with disabilities.
Not every host is comfortable offering their house to a guest accompanied by an emotional support animal on Airbnb. But what should you do to comply with Airbnb ESA policy?
In the US, with the exception of New York and California, hosts may decline the presence of emotional support animals from a stay. And if a host decides to allow the emotional support animal, they may charge a pet fee to the guest.
Still, hosts may be required to accept emotional support animals if the local government requires that. Then, hosts must treat the ESA as a full-service animal. They can’t charge pet fees and ask for information or documentation about a guest’s ESA beyond the questions they are allowed to ask about service animals.
Airbnb community is built on the principles of inclusion, belonging, and respect, which also includes welcoming and supporting people with disabilities and mental health issues. So you should be informed about Airbnb ESA policy and service animal policies to ensure you stay compliant and provide a welcoming environment for all guests.
Airbnb house rules are just important as a strong description, clear photos, and a catchy headline in your Airbnb listing. Guests just need a bit of information and direction about your home and what you allow.
Make sure to add good vibes to the recipe, and follow our tips.
Do guests keep on asking if your vacation rental is pet-friendly? If you’ve ever known a pet owner, you’ll know how difficult it can be to go on holiday without the furriest member of the family. We’ve spoken to experienced pet-friendly hosts to get the inside scoop on whether inviting furry guests is worth the hassle.
If you’ve decided to rent out your home on Airbnb, you might be wondering how much insurance coverage you need to protect your assets and if there is Airbnb insurance available for homeowners. Read this article to uncover details on Airbnb insurance.