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AirBnB just shut down my listing because someone flagged it!


#1

I am so furious right now. AirBnB customer service has been less than impressive since I opened my account last month, but shutting down my listing is the last straw.

My daughter has a severe dog allergy. As in, her face starts swelling up if she’s in a room that a dog has been in. This is not a minor case of a couple sneezes, it is a SEVERE allergy. She helps me clean our AirBnB, so I am very clear in my listing that we cannot have animals in the house due to severe allergy.

One of my first bookings was someone with a service dog (who thankfully notified me ahead of time), and I immediately called AirBnB to see what could be done. They agreed that a conflicting medical condition was a valid reason to deny service animals in our house and canceled the booking with no penalties. I asked them for clarification about the policy because it says you can only deny service animals in a “shared space,” and ours is a whole-house rental. But they assured me that a medical condition is a valid reason to deny service animals and that I just needed to be clear about it in my listing, which I was (and have since added to my house rules, in addition to having it in my listing description.)

This morning, I get an email that someone has flagged my listing and that it has been shut down until I change my policy because it violates the nondiscrimination policy. I am fuming!!!

Ftr- having a child with serious medical issues and being very involved in the world of disability and chronic illness, I know and respect the importance of service animals and have many friends who own service animals. I would NEVER discriminate against someone with a service animal without good cause.


#2

Sorry this happened to you.

It’s facsinating to me because we have had multiple threads about dogs/service dogs and people who don’t allow dogs. And all along we have said, you can do what you want with your house but Airbnb can shut you down and here it is.

Please keep us posted on how this gets worked out. Best of luck.

@RiverRockRetreat aren’t you one of the people who has been involved in prior threads about this?


#3

So sorry to hear this. Did a recent guest make an inquiry? If not, it’s possible another Airbnb host might have flagged you.

I would get on the phone or reply back to the email. Quote their part of the policy about health hazards. Yes, the policy only mentions “shared spaces” however, your situation is quite unique.

What if I have a health or safety concern related to assistance animals?

It’s important to be aware of the fact that the assistance animal, whether a service animal or emotional support animal, plays an important role in your guest’s ability to travel. However, if your listing includes a shared space and an assistance animal would create a health or safety hazard to you or others (e.g. allergies and pets who are unable to share space with other animals due to a safety concern), we will not require you to host the guests with the assistance animal. Please be clear and polite when communicating with guests about this. We also suggest you include information regarding any allergies or any safety concerns regarding your pets in a shared space in your listing description in order to better inform prospective guests.

Then I would email any all documentation about your daughter’s condition. Very sorry to hear this happened when you also have to deal with your own daughter’s medical issues.

And if you haven’t already…get diversified on other sites that you are not dependent on ABB alone.


#4

Yes, I have stated that I would not allow animals and I would rather burn my house down than allow a cat. The thing that makes this so F’'ing hard is that so many people are faking it just because they cannot stand to be seperated from fluffy. I do not know how I will handle this situation should it arise, I would turn down a cat regardless of the consequences with Air. I like dogs, and some dogs are well trained, many are not though.

RR


#5

It’s interesting because although some of have said it could happen I honestly didn’t really think it would, at least not to anyone on the forum. It’s the exact same convo we’ve had about hosting children or people between the age of 18 and xx (for folks with a minimum age). I guess it’s only if someone complains but how unlucky for @jkamm having just started and already getting the Airbnb baptism by fire.


#6

Me too I did not think it would happen. I am wondering what it says in the OP’s listing that was flagged @jkamm ? Could it be that its mentioned in the property description and someone reported it? It seems like Air was decent about cancelling the earlier booking so I am curious what changed…

RR


#7

Once again, I hate that Airbnb does not have a due process policy that allows both sides to be heard fairly BEFORE they act.


#8

What is your vision for such a process? That is, what should they do differently?


#9

Yes, that’s exactly what happened. Someone read my listing, flagged it, and Air shut me down, no questions asked.

I responded to the email (because they refused to speak to me over the phone, wanting the conversation documented), and they wanted more information to see if they could grant an exception to the policy. So obviously, there can be exceptions. I explained the entire situation to them and got back a short reply that basically, I don’t qualify for an exception and that I have to change my listing in order to get it reinstated. They are now ignoring my emails.

One of my biggest problem with their service animal policy is that Air also allows “emotional support animals,” which basically means that anybody can say their animal is a service animal (because emotional support animals have NO certification, NO training, NO documentation required), not notify the host, show up with a dog, and then cry discrimination if the host says anything about it.

Bottom line is that if people bring dogs into my house, I can no longer go in it because my daughter will have a severe reaction. So the only option I see is to add a huge cleaning fee to my prices in order to cover the cost of a cleaning service in this area ($30-40/hr, which would cost me anywhere from $60-120 per booking, depending on how much laundry and cleaning needs to be done), which of course is going to backfire by getting me less bookings.


#10

Do you want to keep hosting or are you done with Airbnb?


#11

I would like to keep hosting. I mean, we just bought this house and poured a ton of money into fixing it up and furnishing it specifically to do the AirBnB. I’ve looked at VRBO and actually created a listing there, but their smart pricing started giving really weird numbers and I couldn’t figure out how to fix it, so I just deactivated it. lol


#12

Since you are “kicked off” anyway it seems to me it couldn’t hurt to change your listing to whatever wording Airbnb wants and get your listing restored. That should piss off your competitor who reported you. Continue to say no pets allowed but don’t say anything about service animals.

Continue to host until you have another issue with someone claiming they need to bring a service animal. When someone contacts you to say they have a service animal explain your situation to them and ask them to cancel if they already booked. What’s the worst that can happen? Airbnb deletes your listing? That’s already done so you have nothing to lose. Meanwhile use that time to figure out VRBO or work on your own website or whatever.

BTW, I say this as both a dog lover and a big defender of service animals to include ESAs. If find a lot of the rhetoric about ESAs not being “real” and their owners being devious to be insulting. But the reality is you could go months without a single request from someone with a pet.


#13

Well, the problem with that is that AirBnB does not require guests to disclose service animals, so I would have no idea that someone was bringing in a dog until after they leave.

Sorry, but ESAs are a huge pet peeve of mine, as someone very active in the disability and chronic illness community, and my friends with service dogs have the same opinion. They do a disservice to everyone with actual service dogs who have paid tens of thousands of dollars to have that dog trained and certified. ESAs require nothing, other than maybe a letter from your doctor. They are not trained how to properly behave in public situations and around real service dogs.


#14

I see your dilemma. It’s a shame, best of luck to you on the other platforms.

Pun intended?

Well we will just have to disagree on this.


#15

I am going to say something. Sometimes it is not an Airbnb “competitor” who reports you, nor is it a random guest.

There are actually a couple of active members on this forum who look for listings and anonymously “flag them” because they are on a crusade for their discrimination/racist issues that they assume exist. That’s just an FYI for you or anyone else here on this forum. I hope in your case this didn’t happen, but just an FYI in case any one of you are wondering…be careful to not drop too many hints. It’s scary to think that other forum members here are actively looking to take down other hosts…


#16

My understanding of AirBnB’s non discrimination policy is that Assistance Animals can be excluded due to medical etc issues if the listing is a shared property.

Perhaps the OP could confirm if this is the case, reads to me that it is a separate property but I could have misunderstood.

Also need to check to see if any issues arises regarding ADA or equivalent.


#17

It’s separate but her daughter who helps clean is severely allergic. If she pays someone else to clean she has to add to her price and the listing becomes less competititive.


#18

That would be a breach of the Non Discrimination Policy. ADA, they would need to check on as well.


#19

I think you will have to supply medical documentation and consider if it reasonable that you get your daughter to help with cleaning as this does seem to be able to resolved by hiring help and adding it to your cleaning fee.


#20

Do you actually have proof this has happened? What kind of race/discrimination issues have people been concerned about?


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