Kicked out of Airbnb Because of our Emotional Support Animal

I’m going to try and make this as succinct as possible, but there’s lots of moving pieces to this situation that may make that difficult to do. I really appreciate anyone taking the time to read through this.

Even though my rights to an Emotional Support Animal are protected through the Fair Housing Act and Airbnb policy, I specifically filtered for listings that were pet friendly when looking for a place here in Colorado. The listing that we booked did not mention an additional pet fee nor any mention of any requirements for notification regarding animals.

The host of this pet-friendly rental (let’s call him Ryan) who was the property manager and not the owner, initially told us that the rental would be ready at 5:30 PM, but when I messaged him and his wife (let’s call her Dana) yesterday morning (the day of check-in), his wife responded that she was “almost done” and would “have it ready by 1:30”. When we showed up with our puppy (fully house trained, mind you), Dana commented on how cute the dog was. She gave us a brief walkthrough of the rental and then left, stating that if we had any questions or issues that her husband would handle it.

At first glance, the listing seemed alright. However, as I was starting to unpack, my wife showed me that the floor was dusty and dirty, the couch was different than the one in the photos and stained with black spots and some whitish liquid (not even going to venture to guess what it was), my dog found a pill (not sure what kind of medication) and was going to eat it before my wife got it out of her mouth, under the bed was disgustingly dirty, we were missing the amenities described in the listing (TV in the bedroom, no soap, no toilet paper, etc.), and all the furniture was old, broken, mismatched and obviously found on the street or secondhand.

I contacted the host, but got no response. My wife decided to try and clean the apartment in the meantime (took about 3.5 hours). When the host finally got back to me, he stated that because we had “asked for early accommodation” (remember how the rental was supposed to be ready by 5:30 but they changed it to 1:30?) they had decided not to have the rental cleaned before we arrived. He also offered to stop by in a few hours, which I accepted.

Not being fully aware of Airbnb’s policy regarding cleanliness and listing discrepancies, I called customer service and filled them in, but said that I would like to try and work it out with the host in the meantime. He came over, acknowledged that it hadn’t been cleaned, and asked what we wanted to do about it. He did not act apologetic nor did he apologize at all even until now.

We stated that we would like to make this work, but we would need a new couch along with compensation for a whole day being spent cleaning the apartment and dealing with this issue. He then decided to bring up that he wasn’t aware that we had a dog and that they would need to charge us pet rent, a pet fee, and increased rent. I told him that because our dog was an ESA, that she is not a pet and is therefore exempt from extra fees and restrictions that would apply to pets. Also, even if she wasn’t, the listing said it allowed pets and never stated that there would be these extra charges anyway.

When I tried to pull up the page regarding Airbnb’s policies regarding discrimination and assistance animals, he refused to look at them and said he didn’t care about Airbnb policy. The same thing happened when I brought up the Fair Housing Act. He then stated that he would present our request for reparations to the property owners, and then they may or may not approve the dog. My wife pointed out that he was basically blackmailing us into asking for little or nothing in compensation or they would reject the assistance animal, which is illegal.

At this point, he said that this wasn’t going to work and that we needed to leave before storming out the door. However, he didn’t try to force us out right then (thankfully). I called Airbnb right away and explained what happened, and the representative said that he cancelled the booking stating the assistance animal as the reason, and that because of the discriminatory nature of this case I would be contacted by the legal team within an hour or two for further assistance and “rebooking assistance”. This was around 9:00 PM. I never heard from the team at all, so we ended up having to stay with some acquaintances in the area on their couch.

I contacted Airbnb again this morning (many times, as I had to explain the whole story over and over to new representatives who would transfer me to another new representative), before finally being told that the booking was cancelled. Airbnb offered a $173 credit to make up for the issue (my booking was over $3,000 and we had already cleaned the unit), and sent some “similar listings in the area”. All of the listings cost more than $6,000 for the same dates, and they were one bedroom options as opposed to the two bedroom that we had originally had. Many of them were also missing amenities such as laundry, kitchen, pool, etc.

I hated the idea of taking up legal counsel yesterday, but after making me jump through so many hoops and the negligence to communicate with me in a timely manner, I’m seriously considering it as an option. I don’t know where we’re supposed to stay tonight and I can’t afford any of the listings that are available in the area. What would you do in this situation?

Posted in Airbnb Guest Stories and tagged , , , , , .


  1. Depending on which state you are in, the owner must allow the ESA, unless they have an existing exemption with airbnb.

    Straight from Airbnb website. Several states prohibit denying an ESA access. A few examples are NY, HI, and CA.

    What we don’t allow:
    For jurisdictions where Hosts are required to accept emotional support animals (unless the Host has an exemption) a Host cannot:
    Charge pet fees, decline a guest, or apply different rules, treatment, or behavior to a guest traveling with an emotional support animal
    Ask for information or documentation about a guest’s emotional support animal beyond the questions outlined above for service animals
    For jurisdictions where Hosts are required to accept emotional support animals, a guest’s emotional support animal must not be:
    Out of control
    Left alone at the listing without prior approval
    Allowed into areas that are considered unauthorized to the guest
    Allowed in a public space without being harnessed, leashed, or tethered and not under the guest’s control

  2. Emotional support animals have exactly 0 rights in the fair housing act.

    Anyone who disagrees, feel free to look it up and hit “ctrl f” and search for the word “emotional”, “support” “or emotional support animal” and you wont find it in there at all.

    Service animals, alone, have rights in the fair housing act.

  3. I am truly amazed at the sense of entitlement of this poster. I don’t think a ‘Fair Housing Act’ has got anything to do with a property you rent for a few days.

    So if your dog is not a pet, then what is it? Virtually all people who have pets have them for emotional reasons, so they would all be ’emotional support animals’.

    ‘The listing that we booked did not mention an additional pet fee nor any mention of any requirements for notification regarding animals.’ You must know not everyone likes or allows pets so even if it’s not explicitly stated you need to ask about this in advance, you should know to ask in advance. You really asked for this situation yourself by not discussing your puppy with the host.

    Entitled people like you make life hard for hosts (I hate AirBnB but some hosts are decent people and shouldn’t have to put up with people like you).

  4. Emotional Support Animals? America has truly gone to the dogs. Luckily I don’t have to put up with that crap in the country I live in.

    • Suzanne,

      The sad thing is, that I don’t think either of those options are true. I had posted this story on Reddit, and the amount of hate I received from people saying exactly the same things that Ron said was appalling.

      It’s truly incredible how far human ignorance can go.

  5. I’m glad Airbnb is standing up to this stupid “Emotional Support Animal” BS. You just want to take your dog everywhere. Maybe some people don’t want to be forced to take your dog and all of the dander, mess and damage that comes with it. Why don’t you just get a blankie and a pacifier instead?

    Your whole post shows how pathetic and extremely entitled you are. I hope Airbnb bans you from the service so no other hosts have put up with your crap.

    • Hey Ron! Thanks so much for the thoughtless reply! I really do appreciate you taking time out of your day to call me pathetic and entitled, even though you couldn’t be bothered to take any time in order to read the post thoroughly. You may wonder how I know this, and the answer is simple, really:

      You see, I mentioned multiple times throughout my post that we specifically chose a pet friendly rental as we always do, in order to avoid inconveniencing our host in any way! And you probably would have noticed this if you hadn’t jumped to conclusions just based on the title of the post alone!

      That being said, I guess it really is pathetic that I’ve been choosing to inconvenience myself instead because–even though I was diagnosed with a Class IV disability six years ago and have been receiving treatment since, and I am therefore truly “entitled” to have an Emotional Support Animal by our federal laws and Airbnb policy– I have been choosing ONLY pet-friendly rentals and paying all the applicable fees, even though I am under no obligation to do so! PATHETIC, RIGHT?!

      It should also be mentioned that Airbnb is punishing this host accordingly, because–once more, if you had taken a moment to read the post rather than electing to become a keyboard warrior, fighting against all this “p–sification of America”–even though the host clearly breached Airbnb’s own non-discrimination policy, his real reason for cancelling the rental was to avoid paying reparations for renting us an apartment in an unsuitable condition.

      All in all, Ron, I really am so sorry to steal the one glimmer of positivity from your day (or week, month, or entire life, rather), but it must be said that I will not be “BANNED FROM THE SERVICE” for standing up for myself, my family, and my rights as a tax-paying American. Although, this white knight of an Airbnb host just might be.

      Learn to read, it’s never too late to start!

      P.S. As a sort of level one/early beginner “practice puzzle” for you, I’ve arranged my screen name in a way that can only be deciphered (look it up) if you sound it out REAL SLOWLY.

  6. Unfortunately AirBnB include an arbitration clause in their Terms & Conditions:
    “Please note: Section 19 of these Terms of Service contains an arbitration clause and class action waiver that applies to all Airbnb Members. If you reside in the United States, this provision applies to all disputes with Airbnb.” (I am assuming from the text that you are in the USA.)

    You can sue the owner, if you are within travel distance of the appropriate court (the case may be too large for Small Claims Court, often limited to about $5,000).

    In the most outrageous cases, those that are newsworthy, AirBnB often provides help, But their business plan essentially leaves complainants out in the cold most times: that’s what has made those big peer-to-peer enterprises into money spinners: nearly all that they do is automated. Usually the guest’s most effective recourse is via his or her credit card provider–some of which are better than others.

    • Oh, man! That’s a bit discouraging to read. To be honest, I really don’t want to have to take the legal path, as I’ve always been resentful of the stories when people take advantage of the legal system. But now, I’m realizing that the courts are in place to protect us little people from the immovable and unforgiving big guys.

      I guess we’ll have to see!

  7. Terrible and inconsiderate host reaction – I’m afraid your options are slim. Stay in a hotel meanwhile and maybe mention your ESA in future requests prior to booking. Best of luck!

    • Hey Pumpkin!

      Thanks for your condolences. I haven’t had much luck with Airbnb making up for this. They’ve apologized profusely for the discrimination and unprofessionalism from the host, and said that he will face consequences, but only offer a measly $200 credit to make up for this whole ordeal. Which would be sufficient (even tho the cleaning fee we had paid before reimbursement was $225 and my wife cleaned the place herself), but all of the rentals in the area cost more than double what he had originally paid. Looking like Airbnb isn’t going to be of much help.

      Again, thank you. Obviously, you’re on this forum because you’ve faced your own issues with Airbnb (whether as host or guest is irrelevant), and I hope that these issues have been/will be resolved for you 🙂

      Take care!

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