If you're a vacation rental host, it's important to understand the guidelines and rules surrounding service animals. Service animals provide important support for those with disabilities, and therefore, require special accommodations. As a vacation rental host, it's your responsibility to ensure that your property meets the needs of all guests, including those with service animals. In this blog post, we'll take a closer look at the guidelines and rules surrounding service animals in vacation rentals, and what you need to know to ensure that your property is compliant.
What is a Service Animal?
A service animal is defined as a dog that has been individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability. The tasks performed by the animal must be directly related to the person's disability. Service animals are not considered pets and are not subject to pet restrictions in vacation rentals.
What are the Rules Surrounding Service Animals in Vacation Rentals?
Under the Fair Housing Act (FHA), vacation rental hosts are required to make reasonable accommodations for guests with disabilities. This includes allowing service animals on the property, even if the rental has a "no pets" policy. However, if the service animal poses a direct threat to the health or safety of others, the rental host may deny the request for accommodations.
What Information Can You Ask for?
As a vacation rental host, you are allowed to ask for information regarding the guest's disability and the service animal if it is not readily apparent. However, you are not allowed to ask for medical records, ask for the animal to demonstrate its task, or ask for a special identification card.
What are the Accommodations You Need to Make?
When accommodating a service animal, you may need to make certain modifications to your rental property. This may include providing a designated relief area for the animal, removing barriers to allow the animal to move freely, or modifying your cleaning protocols to accommodate for the animal's presence.
What Should You Do if You Encounter a Problem?
If you encounter a problem with a service animal, it's important to address the situation promptly and professionally. If the animal is causing damage to the property, is not housebroken, or is posing a direct threat to the health or safety of others, you may be able to ask the guest to remove the animal from the property. However, you must first consider whether or not this request is reasonable under the Fair Housing Act.
Being a vacation rental host comes with a lot of responsibility, including ensuring that your property is accessible and accommodating for all guests. By understanding the guidelines and rules surrounding service animals in vacation rentals, you can ensure that you are compliant and able to provide the necessary accommodations for those with disabilities. Remember, service animals are not pets and must be treated accordingly. With a little bit of education and preparation, you can provide a safe, welcoming, and accommodating environment for all of your guests.