What is an assistance animal?
At Airbnb, an assistance animal encompasses any of the following terms:
Service Animal: Dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability, including a physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual or mental disability. These animals are sometimes referred to as guide dogs, helper animals, service animals or support animals. Examples of tasks a service animal may perform include, but are not limited to:
- Assisting individuals who are blind or have low vision with navigation and other tasks
- Alerting individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing to the presence of people or sounds
- Providing non-violent protection or rescue work
- Pulling a wheelchair
- Assisting an individual during a seizure
- Alerting individuals to the presence of allergens
- Retrieving items such as medicine or the telephone
- Providing physical support and assistance with balance and stability to individuals with mobility disabilities
- Helping persons with psychiatric and neurological disabilities by preventing or interrupting impulsive or destructive behaviours
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.
Are hosts required to accept assistance animals?
Generally, yes, unless there is a threat to health or safety (see below). At Airbnb, we acknowledge that assistance animals are not the same as pets and serve a crucial function for their owner. As stated in our Nondiscrimination Policy, hosts are expected to reasonably accommodate reservations where an assistance animal may be present, even if their listing/house rules state “no pets”.
When can a host ask a guest to remove a service animal?
A host may ask a guest to remove a service animal if:
- The animal is out of control and the animal’s handler does not take effective action to control it
- The animal is not housebroken
In either scenario, the host must still give the guest the opportunity to use the premises without the animal if the guest so chooses. Note that given their role in providing service or emotional support, assistance animals should not be left alone at a listing.
Do guests have to disclose the presence of an assistance animal before booking?
No. While guests are not required to disclose the presence of an assistance animal before booking, we always encourage transparent communication to ensure a smooth experience for all.
Is it okay to charge an additional fee, or increase the cleaning fee, to accommodate the assistance animal?
No, under Airbnb’s Nondiscrimination Policy, hosts cannot charge extra fees to guests with an assistance animal.
Is it okay to request documentation for an assistance animal?
Airbnb does not require documentation when travelling with an assistance animal. In the United States, guests are not required to provide documentation for a service animal and there is no legally recognised certification process for service animals. Where a guest indicates that he/she has a service animal, a host may ask:
- Whether the assistance animal is required because of a disability
- What work or task the animal has been trained to perform
If you are travelling outside of the United States, please be aware that the requirements may differ. Airbnb recognises that some jurisdictions may require prohibitions on all animals, including assistance animals, and we do not require hosts to violate local laws or take actions that may subject them to legal liability.
Can a host request additional compensation if the animal damages a listing beyond normal wear and tear?
Yes, in the same way as a host has the right to retain some or all of a guest’s security deposit to compensate for damage caused by the guest. Although it is reasonable for a host to expect that an assistance animal is well trained and will not cause any damage, the Host Guarantee and security deposit are still at the host's disposal in the rare event that an accident should occur.
What if I have a health or safety concern related to assistance animals?
It’s important to be aware of the fact that the assistance animal, whether a service animal or emotional support animal, plays an important role in your guest’s ability to travel. However, if your listing includes a shared space and an assistance animal would create a health or safety hazard to you or others (e.g. allergies and pets who are unable to share space with other animals due to a safety concern), we will not require you to host the guests with the assistance animal. Please be clear and polite when communicating with guests about this. We also suggest you include information regarding any allergies or any safety concerns regarding your pets in a shared space in your listing description in order to better inform prospective guests.
I was denied a booking because I have an assistance animal. What do I do?
Airbnb takes reports of discrimination in our community very seriously.
If you believe you have experienced discrimination on our platform, please submit a report via this form. Please provide specific details and identify the person that you believe has violated our Nondiscrimination Policy. You can also flag messages or other content that you believe violates our policy. More information about the flagging process is available here.
We will investigate the situation and may follow up for additional documentation. We will also offer personalised, hands-on booking support to ensure you find a place to stay.