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.