Pets and Service Animals in Vacation Homes

Coastal Carolina Vacations takes pride in having a pet-friendly environment. As a Management Company, we encourage home owners to offer their homes as welcoming well-behaved pets. We know, as many of our staff are pet owners ourselves, that vacation is even more fun when your dog can come along. Differentiating between what is allowed with animals in vacation rental homes can be confusing. We have provided detailed information below to help navigate what is allowed, etc. 

What is a service animal?

A Service Animal is not considered a pet. They are trained specifically to work and assist their handlers. Service Animals do not incur Pet Fees and we are always willing to make accommodations for them. Service Animals are welcome in both Pet-Friendly and No Pet homes in accordance with ADA regulations and Fair Housing Laws. However, as much as we respect service animals and what they do, and as much as we want everyone to be comfortable on vacation, we have a duty to our property owners and to future guests to protect them under the existing law. 

Service animals are not pets.

As we mentioned above, a Service Animal is trained to work and assist whereas a normal household pet is not. Unfortunately, we do receive requests from people to accept their pets as service animals when they are not. There are a lot of websites that will provide false "certifications" to anyone willing to pay for illegal documentation. Please know that currently there is not any type of legally recognized organization for registering Service Dogs or Assistance Animals. 

Anyone who falsely claims their pet is a Service Animal can face punishments including hefty fines and even imprisonment. We love and respect our Service and Assistance Animals and have a zero tolerance policy for anyone trying to impersonate their pets and we will report anyone suspected of doing so. We understand that people can be mislead by information on the internet that try to sell "Service Animal Certifications" to owners of pets that are not really qualified. If you happen to be one of those people, heed this information as warning. 

What sort of tasks are a service animal responsible for?

ADA regulations state that the tasks a Service Animal performs are directly related to the handler's disability and mention the below examples.

  • assisting persons who are blind or have low vision to navigate or other tasks
  • alerting persons who are deaf or hard of hearing to the presence of people or sounds
  • assisting an individual having a seizure
  • pulling a wheelchair
  • alerting a person to the presence of allergen
  • retrieving items such as medicine or the telephone
  • providing physical support and assistance with balance or stability to a mobility-impaired person
  • preventing or interrupting impulsive or destructive behaviors in persons with psychiatric or neurological disabilities

plan ahead.

When bringing a service animal to a vacation rental home please follow the below guidance.

  • Service animals must be noted immediately upon the time of booking when possible and prior to the check-in date.
  • You will need to be prepared to answer the following questions.
    • For Service Dogs:
      • Do you or a person in your party need this animal to accompany him/her due to a disability?
      • What work or tasks has the animal been trained to perform that relate to the disability?
    • For Assistance Animals:
      • Does the person seeking to bring the animal have a disability (e.g. a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities)?
      • Does the animal work, provide assistance, perform tasks or services for the benefit of the person with the disability?
      • Does the animal provide emotional support that alleviates one or more of the identified symptoms or effects of the person's disability?
  • Documentation may be required from a physician, psychiatrist, or mental health professional providing evidence that the animal alleviates one or more symptoms or effects of an existing disability. The documentation will be considered only if it establishes that an individual has a disability and that the animal in question will provide related assistance.

Let's talk policies.

Coastal Carolina Vacations is a licensed Real Estate company in North Carolina that has a duty to our clients to ensure they are paid for the use of their properties and to protect their properties. There are three types of pet/allergen properties available for vacation rental use:

  • Pet Friendly: Anyone can bring a pet by paying a pet fee. Service Animals do not pay a pet fee.
  • No Pets: Pets are not allowed on the property whatsoever. Service Animals are allowed and do not pay a pet fee.
  • Pet Free: Both Pets and Service Animals of any kind are not allowed at the property. Although we cannot guarantee that a animal has never been in the property, we hope guests will respect this policy.

Pet Free properties are there to protect the property owner, as well as future guests, who may have medical issues regarding animal allergies. The law protects Pet Free properties from having to endure "unreasonable accommodation" for allowing a service animal. If a property is Pet Free, it means the property is free of pet allergens. Pet Free properties are identified as such for people who have debilitating medical reactions to pet allergens. 

If an animal is brought to a Pet Free property, the cost to return it back to allergen free is an unreasonable burden to a property owner. Charges can include carpet cleaning (up to $200), dry cleaning all fabrics (up to $500), deep cleaning (up to $800), and more depending on the size of the property. These tasks would have to be completed to ensure the Pet Free property is pet allergen free for the medical needs of future guests. Returning the home to Pet Free status would have to happen in the very short period of time between check out and check in of the next guests which is usually impossible to complete due to the time needed for each task. Due to this, we can never allow any animals in a Pet Free property, regardless of their certifications, etc. 

By signing the rental agreement, tenant acknowledges any pets accompanying them have no dangerous genes, are a known dangerous breed, nor have they shown aggression to humans or other pets historically. Tenant also acknowledges they are solely responsible for any acts of aggression or harm to other pets, people, etc. and Agent and Landlord are not responsible for any acts that may occur during dates of occupancy.

No need to worry as we do offer a variety of pet-friendly and service animal friendly properties. All animals are warmly welcomed in properties where they are allowed and you'll even find check-in gifts for your pals. As a courtesy, we only ask the following of our guests:

  • Please do not misrepresent a pet as a Service Animal if it is not. 
  • Do not potentially cause a property owner to lose $400 - $10,000 due to negligence of bringing an animal at a property where they are not allowed. Coastal Carolina Vacations will provide the upmost support in finding a property that is suitable for your pet or Service Animal. 

Please feel free to contact our Property Management office with any questions regarding the above at or call 866-938-7497.