One of the most often asked topics on vacation rental forums and social media pages is about service animals and whether hosts have the ability to refuse bookings to visitors who have service animals.
Some hosts prefer not to allow dogs in their listings. Service animals are not pets since they are taught to do specific tasks. This is where the matter becomes complicated. Some hosts refuse bookings from customers traveling with pets in order to keep their listings hypoallergenic.
Because service animals are not considered pets by Airbnb, no pet fees can be charged. This classification is significant since it removes the host’s authority to refuse bookings from persons who have animals of any kind.
Whatever your reason for keeping your listing pet-free, service animals do not count as pets, and Airbnb’s policy is clear — refusing a booking because of the presence of a service animal violates their Nondiscrimination Policy.
What Does Airbnb’s Nondiscrimination Policy Require?
A host may not “reject a guest based on any actual or perceived impairment” or “impose any additional terms or conditions based on the knowledge that the guest has a disability,” according to the Airbnb Nondiscrimination Policy.
Airbnb wants to build an accepting community, which means that neither hosts nor guests can discriminate based on race, gender, nationality, handicap, or political beliefs. “There is no room for bias, prejudice, racism, or hatred on our platform or in our society.” While hosts are obligated to respect all applicable laws that prohibit discrimination based on factors such as race, religion, national origin, and those specified below, we promise to doing more than meeting the minimal legal requirements,” the policy continues.
According to Airbnb’s Service Animal Policy, what is a Service Animal?
This is a hotly debated topic in the short-term rental sector. Specifically, it raises the question of whether the phrase “service animal” covers emotional support animals. Emotional support animals require no training. Service animals will go through a number of training and evaluation courses.
How Does This Affect Reservations with Service Animals?
Service Animals and their owners cannot be denied a reservation solely based on this fact. Airbnb hosts have the authority to refuse bookings when they deem fit, but not for discriminatory reasons. If, for example, your property will be under construction during the required period of a booking, you can decline the booking, but be aware that Airbnb does not appreciate hosts who do so.
While Airbnb recognizes that its Service Animal Policy is more stringent than you may imagine. Some hosts have even accused Airbnb of infringing on the rights of property owners. These policies are plainly displayed on Airbnb. Furthermore, in order to join the platform, hosts must agree to follow all of Airbnb’s policies.
How Can I Prevent Property Damage?
We’ve always recommended that our customers add a security deposit to all of their reservations. We’ve all experienced how difficult it may be to obtain information from the Airbnb Resolution Center. This is why you should just require a normal security deposit for all bookings.
It’s considerably more difficult to extract money from a guest after the damage has been done. It is far more convenient to request a security deposit as an usual booking condition.
What are my options?
When it comes to appointments from those who have service animals, there aren’t many options. Furthermore, Airbnb states unequivocally on their website that guests are not required to reveal the presence of an assistance animal if they do not choose to, so you may not even know until they come!
Your listing will not be jeopardized by service animals. Service animals are highly trained and should never be mistaken for pets. Emotional support animals are a little more difficult to verify. “These are animals that are utilized as part of medical treatment and/or therapy to aid with an individual’s everyday functional duties but are not confined to a certain species of animal and are not necessary to be taught to assist an individual in a specific skill,” according to Airbnb. These animals are sometimes known as comfort animals or therapy animals.”
In the end, if you want to rent your house on Airbnb, you must follow the Airbnb service animal policy. A regular security deposit can and should be charged. You can also rent out your property on other platforms such as Booking.com or Vrbo, which may take a somewhat different approach to the Airbnb service animal policy.