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Can We Refuse a Service Dog

We received a request from a potential Guest who would like a long-term stay and they have a service dog. Our unit is listed as no pets allowed. Can we refuse?

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Generally: no, you cannot refuse. Service and assistance animals are not considered pets. Review Airbnb’s policies here:


Well, I wouldn’t accept a long term booking through Airbnb for starters, regardless of whther they had a service dog or not.

But while you can’t deny service dogs unless you have a shared home listing, you can ask them the 2 specific questions and advise them of the rules for bringing service dogs- can’t ever be left alone in the listing, for one thing. If they are scammers who just want to bring their pet, hopefully pointing out the requirements would dissuade them.

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It seems like such a manipulation. Why do people seek out listings that specifically say “no pets” and then ask this question? They know it’s not legal to refuse…

We just had something like this with an LTR we have. 2 years ago, we replaced the carpet between tenants. The tenant that moved in had a dog that was old and could not go up or down the stairs without urinating. We did not know this until she moved out this past June.

We ended up having to replace all the carpets in the entire unit. The poor doggie urinated on every inch of the carpet. Bad doggie owner.

So, when we renovated the unit over June and July, we decided to make it a “no pets allowed” unit. Wouldn’t you know, one of the first questions someone asked is “would you allow a service dog?”

As it was explained to us, it was a retired service dog. A pitbull (are pitbulls known to be service dogs?). Because it was no longer an assistance animal, it would not be covered under that law.

I had a guest who wanted to book my no pet property with her small dog, her reasoning was that these no pets places were always cleaner……


OMG. That’s like a smoker booking a no smoking listing so it doesn’t smell like stale smoke. Astounding how little self-awareness some people have.


@RomeoRetreat It’s too bad that those with service dogs don’t respect the fact that some hosts don’t want animals, that there may be many reasons for that, like the host doing their own cleaning and being allergic, rather than the host just not wanting to deal with an animal hair mess, etc.

I could understand if no Airbnbs accepted dogs, but plenty do.

A real service dog is highly trained, doesn’t relieve itself indoors, doesn’t bark uncontrollably, doesn’t chew furniture or scratch doors and the handler would never leave it alone in the house. But they do still shed and smell like dogs.

As far as I’m aware, any breed of dog, or even a mutt, that is intelligent, and not strongly independent and willful by nature, can be trained as a service dog. And there are so many different things that they are trained for, from leading the blind, to alerting the owner to when they are about to have an epileptic attack, or fetch and carry for someone with mobilty issues, that the training isn’t some universal thing, but specific to the handler’s needs.

Set your max in Air to something like 2 weeks. Certainly 28 days max to avoid tenant issues. We have been landlords a long time - there is no way we would EVER do LTR using one of these platforms - only direct with big up front deposits and an iron clad contract.
Then msg guest, “sorry we do not do long terms stays via Air or similar platforms”.

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I am allowed to refuse service dogs because I have a homeshare and I am allergic to dogs. My understanding is that separate spaces don’t have that option. I am a little nervous that someone will someday book with a service animal other than a dog.

You’re not “allergic to dogs”. You’re “allergic to all animals”. I have a shared entry hallway, so I don’t accept any animals.

Yes you can refuse. You just absolutely cannot mention or refer to the dog at all. Find another reason and decline the request. It is really not a big deal to decline a request every now and then. Just don’t mention the dog.

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No, you can’t refuse them unless it’s a shared space. If it’s a whole house rental you have to accept the service dog but remind them that the dog can’t be left alone in the house.

We have worked hard to keep our guesthouse pet free/allergy free, and our guests with allergies really appreciate that. We recently had a booking request that didn’t take our “soft no” for an answer and began to go on about the legalities of saying no to service dogs, etc… I responded that we have a small farm with a wide variety of animals - some more docile than others and some “free-ranging” as well. If they were determined to bring their service dog, we could not guarantee how the interaction with our animals might go. They withdrew their request…happy ending!

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Actually, it’s exactly the opposite. A respectful guest with a service dog should let the host know the they have the dog. Airbnb’s rules state that the guest does not need to notify the host when bringing an “assistance animal” (which can mean either a real service dog or any emotional support animal), but they do recommend “transparent communication to ensure a smooth experience for all.” The guest did the right thing by telling the host they have a service dog because they want to know it’s OK with the owner so there are no surprises and no bad reviews.

Of course, a host need to be careful about responding. Personally, I wouldn’t respond with a yes or a no. I would respond with a link to Airbnb’s assistance animal policy.


The law is what it is, but that doesn’t mean you can not use the system to your advantage. The law allows you to refuse their booking for any reason whatsoever without divulging the reason, which places the onus on them to prove that your reason was illegal. Replace “law” with “policy” for short-term.

Your morals may vary.

Block a weekend in the middle and reply, oops sorry it looks like your dates are not available.

I am a “no pet” STR, but of all the folks I would host it would be a service dog. True service dogs are very, very well trained – better than people LOL.

But I would be happy to do it for a SHORT term rental, never a long-term as I’m in the STR business and not apartment rental. Animals, while smart, do shed, and can have accidents or other issues that you can’t control, which to me, makes a long-term rental a definite no for people or pets.

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