Thinking about taking a holiday with your furry little friend? If you’re confused about Airbnb’s policy for animals, you’ve come to the right place.
Airbnb always goes above and beyond to ensure they provide an excellent experience for both hosts and guests. In the process of doing so, they tend to lay down some clear guidelines on various topics. While you can find animal-friendly Airbnbs, things get a bit more complex when it comes to emotional support animals (ESAs).
Continue reading below to learn everything you need to know about emotional support companions, service animals, and Airbnb. We’ll also touch on a few tips for when traveling with your animal to make your life easier.
Can I Bring My ESA To an Airbnb?
Having an ESA means that you and your furry companion have additional rights when it comes to housing and travel. Emotional support animals are there to help you cope with your mental health issues, so it’s crucial to have them around whenever possible. Service animals help people with a specific disability.
However, you must understand the distinction between the regulations between emotional support animals and service animals. An ESA doesn’t have the same legal rights as a service animal, which are protected under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
You and your companion are protected under the Fair Housing Act along with the Air Carrier Access Act, allowing your companion to legally live and travel with you. However, you’ll need to obtain the proper documentation to receive these rights.
What Does This Mean for Airbnbs?
Airbnb’s policy for assisting animals is quite clear. An assistance animal can be both a service animal and one for emotional support. Property owners are required to allow both to stay with you during your booking. However, they do have the right to deny a pet or service animal if there are health and safety concerns.
The main concerns would be:
- The animal doesn’t have proper in-house training.
- The animal cannot be controlled by the owner.
That said, the above concerns typically wouldn’t be an issue. Airbnb hosts must make an effort to provide reasonable accommodations for you and your furry guest, regardless of whether they accept animals or not.
For pet-friendly listings, the owner can charge extra for guests with animals. However, they cannot charge extra for assistance animals.
However, things can get complicated if you’re booking a shared space. As we mentioned above, any concerns for health and safety could be grounds for removing your service animal or emotional companion from the property. As a result, your host may also have the right to decline your request to stay.
Are Airbnb’s Guests Required to Disclose That They Have an ESA?
Generally speaking, you’re required to present your letter to a landlord or airline official to legally travel/live with your emotional support pet.
However, Airbnb doesn’t require a letter to have your service animal or emotional support pet accompany you during your stay.
Your host can ask you for details about your animal, such as if they have special training or help you with a disability. That said, you technically don’t have to tell your host you’re bringing your companion with you.
However, it’s always better to contact them and let them know you’ll be bringing your service animal or emotional support companion before arriving. Doing so will not only prevent any confusion, but it will also make the stay more enjoyable for you, your animal, and the host.
Airbnb vs. Traditional Hotels — The Differences
Although both Airbnb and hotels provide guests with reasonable accommodations during vacations, the two are quite different in many ways. Airbnbs offer travelers a more personalized experience where hotels are commercial and typically have fixed rules and regulations.
When it comes to animals, hotels and Airbnbs have completely different rules. Unlike Airbnbs, hotels aren’t required by law to permit your ESA or any other types of animals to stay with you. However, any pet-friendly hotel will allow you to take your animal with you. If a hotel claims that they aren’t pet-friendly, then chances are it won’t allow your emotional support companion inside.
Hotels cannot prevent a guest from bringing their service animal with them. Nor can they ask which disability the service animal is there to help with.
That said, you can always politely ask the hotel staff if there’s a chance they’ll let your pet accompany you. It also won’t hurt to show them your documentation which displays your need for your animals to be in your presence.
Airbnb’s Nondiscrimination Policy
Airbnb’s nondiscrimination policy is there to provide a satisfactory experience for both hosts and guests on their platform. Since Airbnb’s primary mission is to provide the world with personalized and shared travel experiences, they have severe regulations to protect travelers and hosts from a wide variety of discriminatory factors.
Airbnb’s hosts are allowed to set limitations and deny booking requests based on numerous preferences, and guests should understand that hosts reserve the right to protect the integrity of their property and Airbnb hosting business.
For example, Airbnb hosts can deny a booking request for guests with animals or those who smoke. A host can also display on their listing that their household is subject to certain diet standards, like kosher or vegetarian meals. Therefore, guests should respect their requests during their stay.
When it comes to an ESA or service animal, hosts cannot deny a guest if they want to bring their pet along.
Tips for Traveling
Taking your animal with you on vacation can be an exciting experience. What’s more, you’ll have the comfort of your companion the entire time you’re away from home.
However, there are a few things you can do to make the travel experience pleasant for everyone involved.
- Always obey the host’s house rules at all times during your stay. This can include making sure your pet is under control, and you clean up after them. You should also inform your host that you’ll be bringing your furry friend along just so they have time to prepare. Maybe they’ll be an animal lover, and you can all enjoy the company of your furry guest!
- Check the listing to see what kind of accommodation they offer. You want to make sure the host has enough space so you and your companion can stay comfortable throughout the duration of your trip.
- Try and find a listing that has a park or enough grass. Since your pet will have to go to the bathroom, make sure the listing has a lawn or a place where your pet can do its business.
- Try not to book a shared listing if possible. Although sometimes options are limited, try your best not to book a shared listing. Some other guests may have health concerns about your service animal or support companion that could cause complications.
There’s no better experience than traveling the world with your animal. Having an ESA gives you the additional right to take your darling companion with you to your Airbnb.
Remember, always have clear communication with the host before arriving to avoid any confusion or issues once you start your stay.
For more information on how to register an ESA, please feel free to check out our services here at the ESA Registration of America.