More about service animals - Lodgify blog

Hot topic. More info for your knowledge

While this is interesting and has some good, and probably accurate information, my take is that we are more likely bound by Airbnb’s terms and conditions.

I have my first service animal here now. In 6 years I’ve never had anyone book a stay with one. My pugs are not pleased, they never are, however, this dog is amazing. He will not let his owner out of eyesight. If it weren’t for my two guys, I wouldn’t even know he was here.

That said, when these first time Airbnb guests requested a booking (they could have instant booked btw) he sent an amazing, respectful, polite, informative request. After a couple of back and forth exchanges I learned they were under 21 which is one of my house rules. Due to the first impression I told them I would be happy to host them and their service dog.

They might be the nicest guests I have ever had. It gave me pause after I met them because I realize MANY hosts out there would never have given these lovely first timers a chance because they just signed up on the day they booked, had no reviews, are under 21 and are booking with a service dog. I asked him why he didn’t just IB and he said he saw I was a no pet home listing and felt it would be disrespectful to have done that.

This experience has reinforced why I use instant book, even though these kids didn’t use it, and why I accept guests with no prior reviews or recommendations from other hosts. You cannot judge people by their names or lack of Airbnb experience.


I’ve read quite a few posts on this forum about service animals and ESAs that make me really uncomfortable. While I understand people have legitimate reasons to not want someone else’s animal in their home, the comments strike me as quite unsympathetic to people who rely on these animals and rife with unconscious bias.


I’ve no issue with service animals, it’s the ESA’s. I am bipolar depressive with high anxiety & at home my pets are wonderful and I know they help out. I do not take them with me, though. I do not take them to work or anything else. ESA’s are not a 24/7 animal like Service Animals & literally do nothing but make the owner more comfortable (my niece & a friend have one) and most are not trained. No thank you to bring in my house doing who knows what under the guise of trying to equate a service animal.
A lot of ESA owners have been forcing themselves in non-pet rentals for free.


I agree with you, I have PTSD and anxiety and every dog I have ever had makes me feel better. I had one who would actually sense my anxiety and come put her head on my lap. I would not impose my dog onto a host or any other business owner that does not allow dogs.

I have had one service dog stay in my no pet listing, I had no issue at all with it. The guest had severe hearing loss and the dog alerted her to her phone ringing and that sort of thing.

I have an upcoming reservation in my dogs allowed listing and they declared it to be an ESA. I have to say that I am a bit resentful and I think this person should pay the pet fee for the pet that makes them feel better.

Not worth the fight though, when I review them I likely will check the box that I would not host again even if otherwise they are good guests because I already wish they had not booked and I certainly do not want them back.

My bias is conscious, I do not agree with AirBnb letting pets stay for free.



You need to read the new policies.

I like VRBO’s ESA policy. Has always been simple and common sense. I’m not sure why it’s taken AirBNB so long to get with the program:

“The accommodation of an emotional support animal is something that hosts and guests should discuss and decide between themselves.”


Because Airbnb has always totally pandered to guests in a way I don’t think other platforms have. Not to mention their millennial Silicon Valley image and PR where nothing and no one is ever to be judged or “discriminated” against (except hosts).


:microphone: drop!


I did, and they incorrectly except California from the new policy. San Francisco has regulations allowing ESA’s. The state of California does not that I can find.



They may have made a mistake on CA law but with the change in ESA policy and the pet fee drop down menu Airbnb is no longer “letting pets stay for free” as an across the board policy.


This is good news.



I did some research, like I do, lol. I lived in CA for a long time so I’m already pretty familiar with the Unruh Act. And you are absolutely right, this is a San Francisco thing, not a CA thing.

In fact, I found a new CA state law that took effect this year, Jan 1, 2022, that is cracking down on ESAs and the places that issue the “certificates”. And it explicitly reiterates that ESAs are not service dogs and therefore do not have the same rights and access as service dogs. It was sponsored by Guide Dogs for the Blind and Canine Companions for Independence, two groups that use actual service dogs (because that is who is most negatively affected by ESAs, much more so than hosts).

So, yes, it is odd that they are excepting CA as a whole and not just San Francisco, especially considering the timing. Generally, Airbnb comes from a San Francisco perspective so it may just be that; however, I don’t doubt that they hired a whole load of lawyers to study the case law in CA and to make this decision. If nothing else, they are covering their asses simply because there is precedent for ESAs being covered somewhere in CA (there is also precedent for Airbnb being held accountable for the actions of their hosts there). I think it is the same reason that they excepted NY as well.

For now, you’re stuck with ESAs but there is a lot of movement against them, not just even, but especially in CA, and for good reason. It won’t be forever.

Btw, I came across something especially interesting in the CA laws. There’s a law that says that if a firefighter or peace officer, who is part of a canine unit, is away from their home jurisdiction on duty that they cannot be denied service in a lodging or eating establishment or on public transportation. And that they cannot be charged an extra fee either.

Personally, it seems kind of dumb that it has to be a law or that it even has to be said but I think it’s kind of cool that it exists. You are also required to call the dog “Officer”.

Lol, just kidding (not about the first part though).

edit to add: For FYI, the same as in NY, your CA laws do consider you a public accommodation so you do to have accept an actual service dog even if Airbnb told you that you didn’t have to.


Though I 110% agree with you regarding service dogs, I am against ESAs because of the damage they have done to people with disabilities that require a service dog. It’s not about having a dog in my listings, I am as dog friendly as it comes. It is because ESAs have done real damage and continue to cause serious issues for people with service dogs.

I think people are too uptight about animals and I’d prefer that more things be pet friendly. Ideally, more lodging would welcome animals and airlines would have a legit system for pets to ride in the cabin where it is safe, but the ESA thing is not the answer. I’ve spent too much of my life working with people with all types of disabilities and some of them quite literally depend on their service dogs to function in the world, whether it be physical assistance or psychiatric assistance. ESAs have made their lives more difficult and it is groups that use service dogs that are leading the legislation against ESAs. That’s enough for me.

I will not allow ESAs in my listings purely on principle. It’s not for the fee, I don’t charge one.

But I won’t put it in my listing that I don’t accept ESAs because I don’t want someone to lie and say that their ESA is really just a pet so that they can bring it to my listing :laughing:


All the threads over time on the Airbnb forum dealing with ESAs usually consist of hosts posting why they don’t want ESAs, since so many lie about it, and guests posting that hosts are evil and compassionless.

What I kept pointing out to those guests is that it isn’t hosts who are their nemesis, it’s the people who want to bring their pet and claim it’s an ESA when it isn’t. That those are the people who have created a situation where hosts can’t believe guests in that regard and that those who have a real ESA should lobby the ADA to provide some sort of documentation for true ESAs, and crack down on that online fake ESA paperwork.


Psychiatric service dogs are true service animals and should be treated by hosts as such.

The ADA does not recognize ESAs. There is no such thing as a “true ESA” in the ADA. They have nothing to do with it. In fact, they are pretty annoyed with the whole thing. They are not going to get involved unless the ESA is trained to do something for a person with a disability because then it will qualify as a service dog.

That is what makes a pet an ESA, the paperwork. That’s all, that’s the only difference between a pet and an ESA, so it doesn’t matter where the paperwork comes from. It’s no less flimsy from one place to another. There is no avenue to make the term ESA mean anything.

If someone requires a dog to support them because of a psychiatric disability, they can get a psychiatric service dog. That dog will be trained to do work or perform tasks to support that person, but a dog that is not trained to do work or perform tasks is just a pet. Pets do provide emotional support, that’s why we call them pets and not just animals. And everyone requires emotional support, there is nothing special about that.


Exactly what @JJD said. I knew an amazing veteran who had a service dog (NOT esa) who assisted him with his ptsd. He told me the dog saved his life by interrupting episodes of anxiety. It was specially trained to do a task, definitely not a pet.


I almost wish this person had booked my non pet friendly listing, then I might have used the nuclear option that has been discussed here before, which I am now unwilling to post in public… But I would have to not accept dogs in my pet friendly listing if I did that with this guest.


I just did some private browser checking on my listing and the service animal thing was there.