What is HomeAway's service animal policy?
HomeAway is an inclusive marketplace built on a foundation of trust, safety, and respect. We are open to all and those using the HomeAway platform are required to act in a trustworthy, safe and respectful manner.
HomeAway requires all property owners and managers with properties located in the United States and U.S. Territories to accommodate guests who require the use of a service animal. This applies regardless of a property’s normal house rules pet policy since service animals are not pets.
What is a service animal?
A service animal is a dog that has been, or is being, individually trained to do work or perform tasks for an individual with a disability.
Some examples of these tasks 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
- 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 with balance and stability to individuals with mobility disabilities
Can property owners and managers request documentation for a service animal?
No. Service animals are not required to have any form of documentation evidencing training, specialized certification, or wear tags, vests or other items that indicate training. An owner or property manager may only ask the following questions:
- Whether the service dog is required because of a disability
- What work the dog has been trained to perform
Can a property owner or manager charge a pet fee or increase existing fees for a service animal?
No. Since service animals are not pets, owners or managers cannot charge a pet fee or increase the security deposit usually charged.
Is the policy based on laws that apply to the owner or manager's property?
HomeAway’s policy does not take into account what the law might be in place where the listing is located. Compliance with HomeAway’s policy is required regardless of what laws, HOA restrictions, or breed restrictions might be applicable to the listing location. As always, we encourage owners to review the laws applicable to their property.
What if a service animal damages a property?
Since these service animals are generally well-trained, it is reasonable to assume the animal will not cause damage. If a service animal does damage a property, the property owner or manager can retain the appropriate amount from a guest’s deposit to compensate for damages as they would for any guest without a service animal. If you have Property Damage Protection insurance, you can contact CSA to learn more about what their policy may cover for service animal damages.
Do travelers have to disclose the presence of a service animal?
No. Travelers are not legally required to disclose the presence of a service animal. However, we do encourage open communication so that an owner or property manager may make reasonable accommodations for the stay.
Can an owner or manager decide whether a property is right for a disabled traveler?
No. As with all situations, we recommend that owners and managers accurately describe the property to all potential guests. Providing the best information possible will help travelers decide whether it is the right property for them.
When can a guest be asked to remove their service animal?
In the unlikely event that the service animal is causing damage to the property, and the animal’s owner does not take effective action, the homeowner may ask that the service animal be removed. The property owner or manager should allow the traveler to use the property without the animal if they wish to do so.
Can a service animal be restricted to certain areas within a property?
No. Service animals must have the same access to the property as their owner, but can be excluded from swimming pools.
Is an emotional support animal the same as a service animal?
No. An emotional support animal may provide comfort and calming to a pet owner. These animals are different than a service dog because they do not have specific task training for a disability. The accommodation of an emotional support animal is something that owners and property managers and travelers should discuss and decide between themselves.
How will HomeAway handle violations?
HomeAway will investigate any complaint of violation of this policy and take appropriate action. This could include temporary or permanent delisting of a property or an owner or property manager or banning a traveler from the platform.