Airbnb Guidelines on Emotional Support Animals
If planning a trip, you may be curious if you will be able to bring your emotional support animal to an Airbnb. And if so, do you have to bring special documentation, will there be any extra fees, or are there any other special considerations?
There seems to be some confusion between emotional support animals (ESA) and Service dogs. And while both fulfill a need, they are very different, and different laws apply to both. DoNotPay can help with their Service and Emotional Support Animals product, solving your problem easily and quickly.
What Is an Emotional Support Animal?
Emotional support animals are those who are "prescribed" by a licensed mental health professional for the assistance and comfort of someone diagnosed with a mental illness or disability. Accepted diagnoses include
- Mental retardation
- Other mental or emotional illnesses or disabilities.
In order for an animal to be designated as an ESA, there must be a recommendation letter from their treating licensed mental health professional detailing the need and the animal involved. ESA's are not trained as service dogs and do not perform functions such as assisting a person with vision or hearing problems or alerting seizure patients. Emotional support animals are used for calming therapy.
Service animals are usually highly trained canines. ESA's can be other animals as well, such as cats, hamsters, birds, etc.
|Seeing-eye dogs||A guide dog trained to lead a blind person.|
|Bomb-sniffing dogs||The most common dog breeds that are used for bomb detection jobs are German Shepards. Labrador Retrievers. Belgian Malinois.|
|Cadaver dogs||Human-remains detection dogs, or cadaver dogs, are used worldwide on land and water. Well-trained dogs help find the missing and dead in disasters, accidents, murders, and suicides.|
What Is an ESA Letter?
An ESA letter is a letter recommending the use of an animal to support a patient with mental or emotional disabilities. It must be written by a licensed mental health professional. This could be a therapist, nurse, psychiatrist, psychologist, or others licensed to care for emotional or mental disorders. It must contain
- The name, licensing credentials and date issued, state of jurisdiction, and contact information of the mental health professional.
- It must be written on the provider's letterhead, give the name of the practice, and any other pertinent information for the professional or facility.
- The animal to be used for therapy must be described.
- The condition you are being seen and treated for.
- The date the letter was prepared.
How Can You Use an ESA Letter?
There are several instances where an ESA letter is used. Certain airlines have provisions for ESA's. Landlords, HOA's, and Coops may need copies in order to allow you access to no-pet areas or when trying to charge pet fees. These things are not allowed per the Federal Fair Housing Act, but you may need proof for your landlord.
How Does Airbnb Treat Emotional Support Animals?
According to Airbnb's website, they take the following stance on Emotional Support Animals:
"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."
Hosts for Airbnb cannot discriminate against guests with ESA's and cannot reject them unless they pose a risk to the health and safety of others. For example, allergies or an animal that is not well-behaved. Keep in mind that you can be held responsible for any damages done by an emotional support animal, the same way as if it were your pet, dependent, or anyone in your custody.
If your travel plans involve flying, contact your airline to find out what restrictions, if any, they have for flying with an emotional support animal.
What Can You Get an ESA on Your Own?
If you feel that you need an ESA, contact your mental health professional who is familiar with your case and diagnosis. If they are familiar with ESA letters, ask that they write one for you. If you are flying on an airline that makes provisions for flying with an ESA, be sure that they include that the ESA is needed while traveling. If you are using your ESA letter for a landlord or HOA, you will need copies for each.
What if You Cannot Do This on Your Own?
Perhaps you do not have the time to sit on the phone or do hours of research. Maybe you just are not comfortable about getting started. For whatever reason, DoNotPay can help you generate a letter to your landlord and mail it on your behalf, contact your airlines and get back to you with answers, or send a letter to your mental health provider requesting an ESA letter.
Through our new Service and Emotional Support Animals product, DoNotPay can help you with all of your ESA-related concerns, including contacting your landlord about your ESA, asking airlines about their accommodation options, and finding the most affordable online ESA-letter service.
- Search "service animal" on DoNotPay.
- Select the type of issue you need help with, including contacting your landlord about your ESA/service animal, asking your airline about ESA options, or requesting ESA/service accommodations at other venues.
- Answer a series of questions about your current situation and the details of your ESA/service animal, so we can generate the best results for you.
And that's it. Depending on your issue, DoNotPay will generate a letter to your landlord and mail it on your behalf, contact the airline agency and get back to you with an answer, or send a letter to your mental health professional requesting an ESA letter.
What Else Can DoNotPay Help Me With?
You name it. DoNotPay can solve your problems quickly and easily. Such as:
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