Airbnb strives to make its services accessible and inclusive to all customers. If you’re planning to make a trip with your emotional support animal, there are a few tips you should know about Airbnb and ESAs to make sure you and your ESA have the vacation you expect.
Know Your Rights: Can I Take My ESA On Holiday?
One of the most important things to learn about when you have an emotional support animal is the rights you have under the law. Many Americans rely on emotional support animals to help them through their days, but there are some distinctions it’s important to understand so you can keep your companion close to your side.
Before diving into the rules around Airbnb and emotional support animals, it’s important to understand what legal rights you and your ESA have when it comes to housing and travel. Remember, an ESA is not a service animal and because of this, they do not have the same legal protections under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
You and your ESA are protected under the Fair Housing Amendment and the Air Carrier Access Act, which basically means your ESA has the legal right to live where you live and travel on an airline with you as long as you have the proper ESA paperwork.
Airbnb’s ESA Policy
According to Airbnb’s ESA policy, an assistance animal is allowed to stay with you. They define an assistance animal as either a service animal or an emotional support animal. In general, an Airbnb host is required to accept your emotional support animal into the home unless there are issues related to health and safety. These issues include:
- An animal that is not house-trained
- An animal that the owner cannot control or that is acting out of control
An Airbnb host must make reasonable accommodations under Airbnb’s Nondiscrimination Policy for you and your ESA, even if the listing says they do not allow pets. But if either of the situations stated above occur during your stay, they can ask that your ESA be removed and give you the option of staying without the animal.
One other caveat of Airbnb’s ESA policy when it comes to health and safety is whether the space is shared. A host or someone else in the dwelling may have allergies, or other pets may be in the home that your emotional support animal cannot share space with. In these scenarios, the host has the right to polity decline your request to stay.
Do I Need Documentation When I Take My ESA To An Airbnb?
When it comes to your ESA, you know that you must present an ESA letter if requested by airlines or your landlord, but Airbnb’s ESA policy is a bit different when it comes to documentation.
You do not need to present documentation to your Airbnb host to travel with an ESA or other assistance animal. The host can ask you if the animal is required due to a disability or if the animal is trained for a specific task.
Bear in mind that Airbnb does not require that you let the host know you’re bringing an ESA with you when you book, but it’s always a good idea to contact the host to let them know. This way, there won’t be any questions when you arrive and the experience will be better for you, the host, and your ESA.
Are There Fees Involved When I Take My ESA To An Airbnb?
When you arrange for a vacation rental with an ESA, it can seem as if extra fees apply, but this is yet another area where it’s important to know your rights before you go to make sure you don’t get taken advantage of.
Airbnb’s Nondiscrimination Policy states that a host may not charge extra fees when you’re traveling with an ESA or other assistance animal. So if a host tells you there will be additional fees for cleaning or an increase of the original charge in any way related to your ESA, then contact Airbnb right away.
Tips for Traveling
When staying somewhere else with your ESA, it’s a good idea to make it your personal policy to follow a few simple rules that will make the whole process smoother for everyone. Follow any house rules that the Airbnb host asks of you and make sure to keep your animal under your control during your stay.
You should also let your host know before showing up that you’ll have your ESA in tow. That way they know what to expect when you get there and there aren’t any surprises for either of you!
Part of the beauty of having an ESA in your life is that they allow you to travel more comfortably. Whether you’re going to a hotel or an Airbnb, your ESA is allowed to go with you on vacation. Do your research on the guidelines surrounding your chosen Airbnb and emotional support animals before you go so you can be sure your rights as an ESA owner are upheld.