Service dog/extra occupant dilemma

HELP! Just got an IB, lady says her boyfriend, daughter, and service dog are coming. My rules say i charge after “the third occupant”, can i count the dog as an extra guest (since im sure legally i cant charge as a ‘pet’) or no? She has good reviews (IB set to the highest standards available) but i have a weird feeling about this lady after a lengthy ‘explanation’ with lots of personal stories… thoughts?

You can’t charge extra for a service animal. You have to just accept it, I’m afraid.


You cannot charge for the dog, but let them know they are liable for any damage the dog does. (Does extra cleaning of dog hairs and dander count in this??)

You can also ask them what the dog is trained to do and let them know you’ll need to see papers (I’d say “prior to arrival” to avoid any awkwardness upon arrival that they forgot or lost them). This will weed out someone who just wants to bring a pet for free. If they cannot provide that you can either refuse the rental if you don’t accept pets, or charge for the pet.

No, you cannot charge for a service dog. BTW - do you advertise that you accept pets, and is this a shared space?

What’s your weird feeling?

it wasnt so much the ‘service’ pet part as much as the kid that bothered me, mainly because id assume being a well traveled/reviewed guest she should have saw my ‘not suitable for kids’ rule and still IB’d, then threw it in there after confirmation. After reading these threads i guess im kinda scared about the kid thing as well, may just be over thinking it. oh well, she coming tmrw so we’ll see!

So I take it she did not select the age range for the kid, or it is not available in her area?

For listing that have the no suitable for kids…when I was doing tests and if I selected 12 and under, or 2 and under - I would get a message saying I could not instant book and had to send a reservation request. I wonder if she edited so she could bypass that??

BTW - do you advertise as pet - friendly?

My sister needs a service dog. It shatters her when she is refused entry to stores, taxis etc. A service dog allows people with varying disabilities said to live more normal lives. She finds herself having to share private information just to get basic service which the rest of us assume as our right. So what you think is over sharing is her bargaining with you to be able to purchase the service you advertise. Being rejected hurts. It’s not fair, it’s humiliating, but that’s what she and others have to do.mshes training a new dog as Bruce died last year at age 8, cancer. The new dog is not full size yet,so can’t wear the vest, so she is stuck st home until she either gets another vest, or the dog is fully grown. She was in tears the other day as she couldn’t go out.
These dogs aren’t pets, they are the equivalent of a wheelchair. They are trained to be calm, and well behaved.

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very good question about the age range; she claimed the ‘phone app didn’t ask for age’ which adds to my uneasy feeling. I told her ‘though our space is not suited for children, we’ll accommodate you, however would a service animal constitute a 4th occupant?’ hoping that she would see my concern/get it. I should have known better.

She goes on this rant about the law, her old dog dying, blah blah blah, i panic because im sure i have little to know legal ground to stand on, even if my rules say no kids (*questionably legal). My options are to eat it and host her for just one day (my cheapest rate), cancel and possibly break the law and deface my record.

Luckily my rental unit is a private entry/24hr self check-in, wont be greeting this guest! haha

Do you advertise as allowing dogs?

yes i do, for an extra fee

That’s good.

problem is, as SHE pointed out, a service dog is technically not dog OR human, leaving it in ‘4th occupant’ gray area. Again, i love animals, just pay the fee. I have friends who buy certificates and vests for their dogs online for $50 all the time, which sucks because it makes me skeptical of those who actually need service animals. This guest just seems as though she may be taking advantage of the IB system, sneaking in kids and/or officially registered service animals. im just gonna be careful with this one

Yeah…definitely can’t charge for a service dog or as a 4th occupant. I was more just curious if you advertise as pet-friendly because she instant booked.

Can you watch them come and go? If they do leave the dog in the apartment then it’s likely not a service dog, as true service dogs are needed by their owners.


I’m sorry to hear about your sister, Louise. I’m sure that for people who legitimately need a service dog it is a real life-saver.

My sister had a friend with a service dog as “emotional support”. My sis has now inherited the dog - certificate and all. I’m sure she wouldn’t abuse it, but there are people who do, like hostphx found:[quote=“hostphx, post:12, topic:9499”]
I have friends who buy certificates and vests for their dogs online for $50 all the time, which sucks because it makes me skeptical of those who actually need service animals.
I suggested before to ask for the paperwork, which is perfectly legit, and I’m sure someone who has them will gladly show.

@hostphx, can you reasonably work with this woman and let her know that while you’ll accept the service animal, would she help to cover the extra cleaning cost involved in hosting it?

Don’t forget that while you can’t advertise that you don’t accept children, you can opt to not host them or at least charge for an additional occupant. For this reason you should turn off your IB.


Yipes! IF (and that’s a big IF!) I accepted a dog (due to so many allergies these days) they are certainly NOT allowed to stay in the house alone!

Canadian - in the U.S. you cannot charge extra cleaning for a service dog, nor can you require a pet deposit. You can only charge for damages after the fact.

Also, there are certain laws regarding what can be asked. Long term landlords can go more in depth, but for short term accommodation there are only two questions you can ask:

  1. Is the dog required due to a disability?

  2. What task or service is the dog trained to perform?

You cannot ask what the disability is, nor ask for any kind of verification.

This is why so many are exploiting this loophole. The intent was so that people with disabilities wouldn’t be treated any differently than those without. Just another U.S. law that people have chosen to exploit. Shaking my head…


And therein lies the problem. In what circumstances would a vacation rental legally be considered a public accommodation?

Having a service dog in a single hotel room is completely different than having a dog stay in an entire apartment for a week…especially if that apartment is advertised to others as not allowing dogs. This is an interesting article of property managers being sued:

I don’t know about where you live, but here in California service dogs are not required to wear vests. I think most do so that people will know to not pet the dog.

Same as in Canada. I was suggesting she just ask the woman to help share in the cleaning cost, although the guest could say “no”. If I were the guest I would think this is a reasonable request.

You cannot ask for verification? What!? What is the point in obtaining the certification in the first place? That means anyone can say anything they want about their dog without having to prove it. That is contrary to why these laws were put in place in the first place… shaking my head, too!!

My sister had to take flights to help care for this poor dog, and the airlines asked for the certification. Is it different for homeowners, or was the airline wrong in asking?

BTW, my sister is American and this happened in the USA.