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Service Dog reservation... interesting one


#21

TBH the cats haven’t lived there for 3 years and it has been cleaned many times since then but I would rather people stayed away than complain, I mean be uncomfortable. I’ve had people stay who say they have allergies but have taken some medicine and so I tell them to just keep the door shut to keep the cat from coming in. The woman who left early recently said there was a strong cat smell in the apartment which could be anathema to people even without allergies. It wasn’t the cat it was the woman who stayed just before for three nights snug inside in winter with her three dogs at least one of which had some sort of odour issue. Since I didn’t want “strong smell of cats” on a review I refunded her the extra night and asked her not to leave a review, which she hasn’t. Fortunately I was due for my bi-annual rug and upholstery shampoo so it is all clear now!


#22

Even just a “Not suitable for guests with allergies to (tick as appropriate) 1. dogs, 2.cats. 3.birds. 4.other people”.

BTW my pre-arrival messaged rules now reads like a condensed version of War&Peace.


#23

I’m afraid that might be counterproductive. The purpose of lots of rules in the rules section is that is the only hope of Airbnb helping you in a dispute. The purpose of putting some of those things in the welcome message is to hope they will read and acknowledge the absolute most important things.


#24

No, this is not true. Local laws always supersede AirBnB policy.

From the AirBnB Help page:

I only have to accept registered service animals. I can refuse any other animal, or ask a fee.
I do not have to accept peacocks, sheep, hamsters or any other animals because they are emotional support.


#25

I can only speak to the US and UK and there are no local laws that would run against AirBnB’s Assistance Animal Policy.

Seems unlikely there would elsewhere but who knows.


#26

What law are you referring to @Coho?

I was suggesting you ask the guest what activities the ‘service animal’ helps the guest with which Airbnb says you can ask.

If it is a genuine service animal, the guest will need to have the animal with them at all times.

I cannot see why you can’t ask for a service animal not to be on furniture.


#27

Well, try getting a service dog into a hotel in Saudi Arabia… or even into the country.


#28

Well Saudi would certainly be an unusual one and I could never understand how AirBnb can spout their ethos and do business there but that is another subject.

So back to well you can ask a Service Dog owner what they do, sure you can under ADA so I suppose we are talking about US situations only, as I have mentioned I have yet to have a real Service Dog stay with me and AirBnB policy allows Assistance Animals which are mainly not ADA and do not have that requirement so what is the point.

Yes the Airlines are having issues with US Federal law requirements and are trying to crack down but as AirBnB hosts we do not have the options they do, Assistance Animals are basically anything a guests says is an Assistance Animal.


#29

You’re dealing with two different things here:

The ADA which applies to public accommodations, and Airbnb’s own laws on service dogs/emotional support animals. You also need to look at your state law. Your state law is either going to mirror federal law, or grant more rights to those with disabilities. The federal law is just the minimum standards you need to abide by. But your state law takes precedence when it grants more rights.

Most vacation homes are not going to fall under the definition of a public accommodation. You could spend days reading about it, as it’s not all black and white. Some will be considered a public accommodation.

And there are exceptions to the federal law, such as if the presence of a service animal causes an undue hardship on the owner. Or if it causes a direct threat to the health and safety of another.

For example, let’s say hypothetically you had assured the following guest (who claimed to have severe allergies) that you do not allow pets. But all of a sudden someone right before this guest is coming with a service dog. And let’s say you now have to get the entire property deep cleaned and wouldn’t have enough time to complete the job before the next guest checks in. And now this would cause you to break your rental agreement (regarding check in time) for the next guest. Or maybe the cost for the entire home to be deep cleaned would leave you breaking even on the reservation because guest only stayed one night or something. Something like these situations might be considered an undue burden. But that would be for a judge to decide.

Since it’s an Air reservation though, you have to go by their rules. The ADA only recognizes dogs and miniature horses as a service animal. Not sure what your state law would say. Airbnb includes emotional support animals. Basically if a guest shows up at the door with a snake, rat, and cat. The guest can claim they are all emotional support animals. And if you deny them, you will be discriminating.


#30

I have gone about this as ‘requesting’ and not ‘requiring’. I have to update my rules now. All the talk of legality has me gun-shy. Ughhh, never knew this would be an issue when doing an ABB.


#31

Agree with River. Just decline the booking. Don’t say it’s because of the dog. Just say something like ‘sorry we are unable to accommodate you. Best of luck with your travels…’ If he asks why, just ignore.

You don’t owe anyone an explanation. It’s your house. Just say no. Problem solved.


#32

In the USA you can ask 1) is the dog a service animal required because of a disability 2) what work or task has the dog been trained to perform. They have to have a specific answer re: specifically trained tasks. Emotional support animals and therapy dogs are NOT service animals and are NOT protected by the ADA. Many people buy fake service dog vests online. You can tell a fake ‘service’ dog because they are not meticulously trained and are often on long leads and treated like pets (because they are!).


#33

According to AirBnb my ESA is not a pet, and we are I think talking about bookings made through the AirBnB system.


#34

I guess Airbnb can say what they want but the ADA federal law is clear. ESA are NOT service dogs, they are pets that provide comfort and they do not have protected access to public places. https://www.ada.gov/regs2010/service_animal_qa.html


#35

They can also remove you from their platform if they get complaints about you not following their policies.


#36

If you are living in the US yes, in all other countries no.
I do not have to accept any “service” animal, if the guests cannot supply documentation.

It is mainly a US problem because there is not proper certification system, so any idiot can call his pet a service animal. Within Europe most countries have proper certification systems, even for “Therapy Dogs” as we call them.

So, according to local laws, I am allowed to ask the guest for proof.

I do not think AirBnB will ban you as a host for sticking to local laws. Imagine the headlines “AirBnB bans host for refusing guest with emotional support Lama”.

I accept dogs, so that is not a Problem. But I require an extra fee per dog. So the only discussion would be if the dog can stay for free.


#37

As long as you obey the Law you can do what you want with non AirBnB bookings.

If you use AirBnB then you sign up for their terms and conditions, I suppose you can get away with ignoring them until somebody complains and then you have a choice to delist or comply.

But that goes for any of AirBnb’s non discrimination policies, well all their policies.


#38

This was a hotly debated topic on one of the many Air BNB facebook groups, and according to Air BNB’s policy, they consider ESAs to fall under Assistance Animals and if you discriminate you are violating their TOS and could be booted from the platform.

Emotional Support Animal: Airbnb defines assistance animals to include Emotional Support Animals. These are animals that are used as part of medical treatment and/or therapy to assist with an individual’s daily functional tasks, but are not limited to a specific type of animal and are not required to be trained to assist an individual in a particular task. These animals are sometimes referred to as comfort animals or therapy animals.

https://www.airbnb.com/help/article/1869/what-is-an-assistance-animal


#39

So about 99% of dogs.


#40

I agree some people do abuse ESA’s but others do not, and you can snuff out the abusers pretty easily. Anyone that is leaving a dog alone ALL day while they are at a concert is questionable.


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