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Hi everyone, I’m new to the forum and a fairly new ABB owner (remote owner). I have an inquiry from a lady whose husband has MS and they’re having a difficult time finding accommodations (non-hotel) that are handicap-friendly. Specifically she is wondering about the bathtub and if it has a bench (it does not).
It’s a 5-day stay in April and as a new owner I am eager to get bookings and reviews. If you were in my shoes would you pay the $90 or so to buy a bathtub bench and accommodate this couple? I could always leverage it in my listing for future wheelchair-bound guests. But I am also a remote owner and the coordination of getting the thing in there, and stored away later, is tricky.
I would be willing to make this kind of investment.
After that you can put in the listing that the item is available and perhaps get another booking or two because of it. If you are in the US you can also deduct purchases for your rental from your income when you do your taxes.
Before you do anything specifically for this couple though you might want to consider if you home is really well suited to their needs. Are there steps? Is saying you will buy a bench going to encourage them to make other requests and end up being more work than worthwhile for your booking price?
@knightrider. If your home is truly wheelchair accessible, 46" turning radius in the bathroom, adaptive sinks, ramped or even entrance, doorways are at least 36" wide, that is a huge marketing opportunity. Of course, you would need to have railings in the tub area and near the toilet. Wear and tear with a wheelchair is also increased. Wheelchairs bring in grit and mud from the out-of-doors, and the wheels can make black track marks on floors much like a roller bag. A no shoe policy doesn’t change any of this of course. You can not ask a wheelchair-bound person to change their tires to indoor tires. If you choose to go this route, you should have grippers that reach into upper level cabinets and hooks under a counter overhang to hang that. Being truly wheelchair accessible is a major undertaking but there are so many people who would be so very happy to find a carefully maintained AirBNB with this feature.
If you want to do this, you need to do more than add a bench. Check out this website for details, a bench or chair is only part of what you need. It’s a good idea to do this as it adds value to your home, your listing and as we grow older it becomes necessary to make our bathrooms safer. You may find bath benches at thrift shops.
Thank you, all. Very good points. I don’t think I’m ready to completely outfit the property to be ADA compliant (I would if I were local). The guest is only asking about the bathtub and front door. I will have my cleaner take pics of the areas she wants to see, then, if it looks like something that would even work, we will discuss the bath bench. I will work to accommodate them but not use it as a marketing aspect since the place is not truly ADA.
The depth of the bathtub could be an issue for this guest. I just stayed at an airbnb property this weekend that had a great soaker tub. Really deep and you had to hoist your leg over to get out, first thing I thought was if my legs were pooched I would have a hard time here!!. If your tub is deep it may be a hindrance to your upcoming guest.
If the shower head is not removable may consider providing the bathroom with a container they could use to pour water onto themselves for rinsing etc.
If you don’t want to have a bench permanently in your possession, renting by donation may be an option - it is here in some locations in Canada through the Red Cross. I have rented several appliances, devices over the years and bath benches are amongst the items.
My mum couldn’t stand in the shower / tub and more recently, my father-in-law can’t. So I put a cheap plastic garden chair in the tub and it worked well in both cases. If you have a shower / tub arrangement…
If this is something that you can afford (even if guest cancels last minute) and feel you can potentially increase future bookings…then go for it.
But if this guests is specifically avoiding ADA compliant hotels in order to stay in a cheap Airbnb, I wouldn’t like that. Basically, they are asking you to spend $90, so that they can possibly save $90 on their trip. Maybe there are other reasons, but that would not sit well with me.
Hadn’t thought about it like that, nor have I asked her why she isn’t looking at hotels. She seemed genuine, friendly and appreciative. I was willing to look into it primarily because of the way she asked about it.
@MaryJO that’s a great idea. I will look for medical equipment rental places there and see if its cost-effective. Thanks!
I find cabinhost’s view a bit cynical. There are many reasons that people choose an AirBNB over a hotel, with cost being just one of the factors.
In the past, when I have had requests for special items, I have offered to split the cost with them. A bench in shower is something that MANY people enjoy. Women shaving their legs, men who worked out too much and want the warm water to relax muscles, toddlers so they don’t get sprayed everywhere… if your bath would benefit from a bench suggest that they help pay for it in case no other guests decides to use it.
And for all three times this has come up, the guests were thrilled to help with the cost and my reviews from them were stellar.
One of our first guests has MS. We have a shower, and they used a heavy plastic garden chair to bathe him. A tub would be a whole new level of hassle though. I would be messaging the possible guests and explaining that you are NOT ADA compliant, but are willing to work with them. As others have said, the investment in the bench is a tax-deductible expense, and you can carefully word your listing to explain that it is available.
I agree with you. First, MS isn’t like, for example, a spinal cord injury. Many people with MS lead pretty normal lives with a bit of accommodation, not everything necessary for someone who is paralyzed in their legs. Second, as I would hate to have MS, I try to act with compassion to those who do. If a guest asked me for the simple accommodation of a chair for the tub I would gladly get one. I would feel good about helping someone with MS have a nice trip. Also, don’t forget the expense is tax deductible.
I have a two bedroom garden level apartment, and the entrance is down so stairs. The land slopes, so there is also an entrance through the ground level garage. I do not claim to be ADA certified, but I do offer my apartment as wheelchair/walker/stroller friendly. I provide all of the measurements of door and turn-arounds. I have found many plastic shower chairs for sale at Goodwill and other thrift shops. Easy to sanitize, easy to store. I agree with many posters who say not to remodel your bathroom. Do not get caught up in the ADA approval process. By doing so, you open up so many windows of liability and future culpability. Just tell your guest what you have and let them decide. I enjoy hosting people with disabilities, older folks and families with babies. The more you can mix it up, the better!