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AirBNB Wrongfully Forces Hosts to Accept Pets from People with No Disability

hosting

#1

AirBNB wrongfully forces hosts to accept pets from people without a disability. In AirBNB’s stated guidelines AirBNB clearly states that they require hosts to accept people with pets if it is for emotional support. Emotional support doesn’t qualify under the ADA as a disability and this is coming directly from the federal government.

This whole issue ended up becoming a dispute between myself and AirBNB after a lady who did not have a disability sought preapproval because she did not have a disability and wanted to bring her dog. We turned her down and advised we were not accepting pets at this time, but would in the future after we built a new building that was pet friendly. AirBNB immediately suspended our account and pointed to some guidelines that indicate that people with an emotional need to have their pet must be accepted. We don’t agree, and for the following reasons.

Before our property trustee turned over the property to us and prior to commencing operations, she had a tenant who had three dogs. The dogs tore up the carpet, chewed up an very nice recliner, knocked every screen and blind down in the house, chewed up the sofa cover, and peed in the same spot in the book case for quite some time. The pee leaked through the wall and rotted out our T-111 siding on the west side of the house. Ironically the house had been rented as a house with “no pets”, and a law enforcement officer brought them anyway.

We were required to completely renovate the property as a condition of being allowed to use the place as a youth hostel and guest house, and currently owe $847 for the living room carpet on a two year interest free loan through Home Depot. For this reason it is hard to accept AirBNB’s policy and I find it unreasonable. The total cost to replace the living room carpet was $2150.

In the subject case the guest requested pre-approval because she did not have a disability. However, a guest with a qualifying disability doesn’t need to ask for preapproval and can pretty much do what they want with their service animal. Pet owners commonly will have their pet certified as a service animal in order to defeat owner prohibitions on pets. There are innumerable postings about this on the net see and nearly two dozen states have cracked down on fake service dogs. Most interestingly the commentators in a number of online sources point out that the fake certifications are hurting people with disabilities.

Even though AirBNB deactivated our account, we have decided to hold our ground, and advised the AirBNB representative Charlie that we will accept pets, provided the guest pays in advance a $2150 security deposit which is our cost of the carpet. We felt this would settle the issue. However, I find AirBNB’s policy to be nutty, particularly when there are other hosts in town who do accept pets.

We would like to accept pets in the future, but need to build a new pet friendly building to do this. Some of the things we would incorporate in the building include synthetic laminate floor in the living area with a marble tile bathroom floor, special furnishings more difficult to chew, and would blinds with heavy gauge wood slats and/or other materials more difficult to damage. I have spoken to other AirBNB hosts who have accepted pets and they have had a positive experience, but their furnishings are very different than ours.

Not sure how other people feel about this but I think AirBNB has gone too far with their pet policy.


#2

It’s ridiculous; all dogs are emotional support dogs because they provide security and companionship. I can’t accept other people’s dogs because I have a cat. (Only my own dog and a relatives dog I board because she also lives with cats). I don’t know what Airbnb are on, some kind of PC BS.
Wow, over £2000 dollars for a carpet. Is it a massive room? I paid that for 50m of wool carpet with Cloud 9 underlay.


#3

Of course as well as a hefty deposit for a dog you could also have rules. The dog is never to be left unattended, it’s not allowed on the furniture etc… Plus stress all the local dangers, lack of fencing, roads, dog biting tarantulas etc… Or you might develop an allergy which would make it impossible for you to manage your listing.


#4

This policy of Air’s does have me a little worried. I rent rooms in my owner occupied home and I have pets of my own. I am not going to subject my pets to the stress of other animals in their environment, nor am I going to subject my house to other people’s badly behaved animals.


#5

Tell Air that you’ll accept her emotional support dog (they are NOT trained, certified Service dogs) when Air will accept you and your emotional support scorpion (or cockroach farm or cobra or alligator) at any property anywhere in the world.

I told an Inquirer recently that “of course we accepted all trained, certified Service dogs with proof of certification”. Never heard another word.


#6

The only problem with that @KenH is you risk having your listing deactivated.


#7

At this point I might as well state that in cases of where people have pets we will accept the pet but not the owner ; )


#8

You are using the word service animal when you mean support animal. People with service animals are protected by law; people with emotional support animals are not.

Right. Airbnb can’t force you to do anything you don’t want to do with your property. All they can control is the use of their platform. You are not the only person to post about this on the forum recently.

This won’t be done via Airbnb. So are you going to list your property on other platforms like VRBO?

I accept pets but only have a small room and bathroom. I’ve had no major problems. One guest’s dog had diarrhea on a spot of carpet. She cleaned it as best she could and immediately told me about it and offered to pay for professional cleaning without me even asking. And I hosted her and her dog a second time on her trip back through my town.

I don’t blame anyone who doesn’t accept pets but the vast majority of stays will not be a problem.


#9

Exactly. Under the law you can’t demand proof. Now the scammers will probably just disappear but it only takes one to call your bluff and complain to Airbnb.


#10

AirBNB did deactivate our listing. However we have a long list of bookings already on the calendar. They are just not accepting any new bookings for us. We have elected to create our own website and accept credit cards directly, and have decided to hold our ground with AirBNB. There are a lot of things I like with AirBNB, but there are a few things I don’t like, and this is one of them.


#12

Prior to the carpet being installed we had to have special services from a carpet cleaner, who had to clean one of the beds, and help clean the area carpets in the other rooms. One of the beds was heavily soiled by the dogs that were in here, and there was dog hair everywhere. It took a long time to clean the place up.

The living room is a big one, but we elected to go with a more expensive nylon continuous thread carpet that has a super thick pile, and a double sided pad since there is no moisture barrier in the foundation under the living room.


#13

Apparently AirBNB requires you to accept pets whether they are service animals or not. I think it is a bad policy and doesn’t allow enough flexibility. for hosts. What I don’t understand is why AirBNB doesn’t send the guest to another host who accepts pets. AirBNB deactivated our listings after declined a guest who was not disabled and merely wanted the pet for emotional support.


#15

They do? I haven’t heard this before, but I’ve been out of the loop for a couple of months…


#18

In English Victorian houses floorboards just get nailed onto the joists which sit on the foundations lol. Your damp protection is the ventilation of the air below. For the life of me I don’t understand the fashion for stripped floorboards downstairs. Freezing!


#19

I am having this exact issue with AirBnB right now, and I am seeing red! I have been going back and forth with their Trusy & Safety department for a week now. They refuse to let me speak to a supervisor or anyone else besides the one guy I have been communicating with. They told me that I could not prohibit service animals, so in order to get my listing reactivated, I had to take that wording out. I did, and changed it to a paragraph asking guests to respect our medical issues and book elsewhere. But I don’t say anywhere that we don’t accept service animals.

Due to severe allergies, we cannot accommodate animals at this house. Because my listing has been previously flagged for discrimination, I have been forced to add this information to my house rules. For guests traveling with service animals, please note that dog danger left in the home can cause not only an acute reaction resulting in potential hospitalization but also an activation of my daughter’s immune disease. We are not a hotel; we are renting out one of our family homes. We ask you to respect that our family’s medical issues and disability are as valid as your own and that you book at a different AirBnB where allergies are not an issue. This is not an issue of discrimination but of my own family’s health and safety, but because AirBnB will not let us prohobit service animals, I am asking for people to do the right thing and book elsewhere if you are traveling with a service or assistance animal of any kind. I understand and respect the need for service animals, and I genuinely apologize for the inconvenience.

He is telling me this still violates their nondiscrimination policy and will not reactivate my listing. I am SO PISSED. I am honestly considering bringing in an attorney.

EXACTLY. Anyone can say their pet is there for support or comfort. I mean, wtf other reason would anyone have a pet other than comfort??


#23

Shameless- can I ask who you’ve been talking to at AirBnB about this issue? Curious if it’s the same guy (name starts with Chr) that I’ve been dealing with.


#24

This must be a new policy. I’ve only had one 3 star review, but it was 2 years ago. Anyway, this is kind of crazy and scary too, along with the Insane Pet Policy. I did just get my first 4 star review for this season because the lady thought the bed was too soft. She could just as easily have given me 3 stars, because she claimed it was impossible for her to sleep.


#25

I concede that the construction quality of the building could have been better and I would have never built a building in the manner that ours was built. If I was doing a house without a foundation, I would have used a slap with a moisture barrier, and likely use a block foundation on top of that to get the house at least 3 feet off the ground. This would not only provide against moisture protection but make it easier to do maintenance repairs. We are really in the wrong type of climate for a slap with no air space. So far we only have a mold issue in the bathroom and one of the add-on bedrooms off of the living room, and have targeted the add-on bedroom for removal.


#26

Its easy enough to print that off online. I know because I have done it myself.
Before anyone jumps down my throat, it was for a very specific window of time and was a life or death situation (truly). I wouldn’t do it for self entitled reasons like renting a condo on vacation!


#27

The approach we are taking is to modify our listing and request the guest to pay $2150 up front and an extra $50 cleaning fee, but this is only for guests with guests who are not legally disabled. As stated earlier, the best thing is to get your own website and forget about AirBNB. They have some nutty ideas on profit taking and not likely to budge. Their fees to host are substantially more reasonable than their competing 3rd party service agents, so they are in a position to pretty much impose their will. We were literally charged a 21% commission by VRBO for a couple of bookings earlier in the year, so I am not too fond of any of them.


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