Is it discrimination if I say I don't accept anyone under the age of 18?

Here is a link to the Airbnb website explanation of when you are permitted to exclude minors.

Hi EllenN, Do you know if there is a version for Australia? Or maybe someone else could offer guidance. It’s really got me thinking.

I don’t know about Australia. You might want to call your local number for Airbnb and ask them.

Airbnb is not the goverment at all for U.S. …read carefully

The FHA prohibits housing providers from discriminating against applicants or residents because of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability, and familial status—including children under the age of 18 staying with parents or legal custodians and pregnant women—in most housing related transactions, with a few limited exceptions.

The FHA also makes it unlawful to advertise any preference, limitation, or discrimination based on these categories. One type of disability discrimination prohibited by the FHA is the refusal “to make reasonable accommodations in rules, policies, practices, or services, when such accommodations may be necessary to afford person(s) [with disabilities] equal opportunity to use and enjoy a dwelling.”

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Anyone can look up many past cases in the United States of “preference” related lawsuits. Also, anyone can ignore this and trust Airbnb. Everyone should just be careful.

How do the anti-discrimination laws get “abused”? Of course you’re not allowed to advertise that you prefer to not have guests who are of a protected class against whom you are not permitted to discriminate. How would you distinguish that from discrimination?

When my father was a baby, his mother put sugar water soaked rags in his mouth because children weren’t permitted in the apartment my grandparents were renting. This was so common that there weren’t any other options for housing. My husband’s mother and uncle were put in to an orphanage because their parents divorced and their mother needed to get a job. At the time it was legal to fire a woman for having a child. I am 1,000 percent supportive of anti-discrimination laws.

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The laws only get abused by those trying to sue…like the recent squatter…not us, and your family, etc.

Because the U.S. is so sue crazy is why so many get away with crap like this stuff. The government also is harsh on those who “advertise” because they don’t want it to be written in any form- the discrimination still goes on.

Some kind of legal discrimination is still allowed…but as long as it is hush hush behind closed doors…it’s okay. But it cannot be “advertised” - because it doesn’t help us move forward as a society in general. I was surprised myself to read up on this stuff.

Basically the U.S. government still recognizes your right to private discretion in your own home…but do it behind closed doors is all.

But I don’t think these FHA rules apply to those people you share YOUR HOME WITH. In those cases you can be more discriminatory! For instance, if I am a single female, I don’t have to share my home with a male roommate.

If you go to list a place on Craigslist for rent, they strongly advise you to describe the property, not the people. In other words: Studio for rent, city views. Not: Single professional preferred for studio. No families. You can’t say that in an ad.

Air has some language about this on their website. Air is not HOUSING. Air is short term rentals. That being said, they have faced some issues lately regarding discrimination by hosts against blacks and gays.

Children are not a great fit with most Airbnbs as they are personal spaces that you share in many cases.

Airbnbs are not HOUSING. They are short term lets. Different rules apply.


Yes, you are correct. Certain laws you can somewhat state a preference and others you cannot. It is so silly to me.

I am only warning others to watch out for “stating” a preference. I had zero knowledge that this was against the law in many cases. You can have the best intention for families with children…and then someone like the squatter will search for those listings to sue. And it won’t be an attorney picking up the lawsuit…it will most likely be the U.S. goverment.

I think it is a US government FHA regulation. Look on Craigslist. They define it really well. Does that stop anyone? No… but at least they have been warned.

I think you’ve hit on an important point regarding the difference between ‘your home’ and ‘a hotel (or other establishment)’. But there does seem to be a lot of different ways that Airbnb hosts see what they’re offering. I’ve seen a lot of hosts saying ‘this is my home’, ‘they’re sharing my home’ etc. Other listings seem to present more like a holiday or hotel letting.

I completely understand why “stating a preference” is considered discrimination. I wouldn’t feel that I would be treated fairly if I was permitted to live or work somewhere, but a preference had been stated against me. For example, if I answered an employment ad that said that the employer preferred a man, but would accept a woman because they had to I wouldn’t believe that I wouldn’t be treated fairly.

I read the Craiglist and/or Roommate lawsuit a while back. I do give Craigslist credit for doing one thing right:)

The entire thing is crazy to me. I 100% agree with anyone who doesn’t want to advertise to children. I don’t blame them. The only reason I don’t check off that box is because of the U.S. law. Airbnb cannot be trusted.

Again… In the US these laws speak to housing… places you live permanently. A place you rent for a few days surely cannot be held to this standard?

I have a staircase to my rental. I say it is not handicapped accessible. That is the truth.
If I were long term renting, could a potential tenant challenge me and make me build a ramp?


I hope you understand I am only quoting U.S. crap law. I in no way stand behind anything I said as far as what I believe personally. I only wanted to quote the law for the OP. She probably did come across some jerk who said she was discriminating.

I personally prefer to discriminate in all ways of life. I am only mentioning this stupid law because I prefer to hold onto my money and not be sued :slight_smile:

It is not AirBnB that needs to be trusted, I am sure they would gladly not have to deal with none of this. I am sure they are not trying to push an agenda, but just trying to do business in a legally very-tricky country.

What is stupid about the law?

It looks like your circumstances exempt you from discrimination laws at least as far as not permitting children and not accommodating people with disabilities.

Yes, the same thing I thought…surely in your own home you don’'t have to have the same standard. And yes you are correct in many instances.

Maybe tomorrow I will try to find and upload the exact congress debate in the 1960s when it was initiated. The intent was true discrimination. But it just goes back to how you have to apply one law across the board. It was interesting to read.

It’s true, I don’t accept teenagers even with a parent. I guess I regard this as a lifestyle choice in my home, just as I say I don’t allow shoes in the house or smoking. Obviously, this can turn into a much larger discussion about race and sexual preference but if it’s your home and you really don’t want a certain kind of guest in your home, is it even safe for the guest to stay with an Airbnb host that clearly is so bothered by something about that guest that it’s not good for either party?

I read some of the link provided and I found this under exemptions: “(2) Rooms or units in dwellings containing living quarters occupied or intended to be occupied by no more than four families living independently of each other, if the owner actually maintains and occupies one of such living quarters as his or her residence.” So I think I’m ok to say I don’t accept anyone under the age of 18. Do you agree? (I live here full time in a 2 bedroom condo and I rent out the other room on airbnb.)