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Not accepting children is now considered discrimination!


#41

No, it’s not about Air trying to enforce laws from the FHA.

@cabinhost then what IS it about?


#42

Air trying to use laws when it suits them. Like I said, if they truly didn’t want hosts to be in violation of FHA law (in regards to advertisement) - they would have removed the option…at least for U.S. hosts. No different than Air saying that hosts must accept any kind of assistance animal. It suits Air to do this, and they insert sections of a law that may or may not apply to hosts at all. Their site, their rules…but they twist laws around when it is to their advantage.


#43

It is an interesting subject; many grey areas. This article discusses discrimination in general and how it relates to Airbnb and the “Mrs. Murphy” exemption.

So it seems to me that I don’t have to accept children since I rent out 4 rooms in the home where I live.


#44

This is what I thought too!
I would still Simply decline them for another reason. The less said the better.


#45

Yes, def. many grey areas Mike. You also have to consider if the courts would consider Airbnb to be a “real estate broker” etc. When these laws were written, I believe the intent was that Mrs. Murphy just rented through word of mouth, or maybe a sign outside her door. so who knows today how the courts would interpret.

Regardless if you can discriminate, you still violate the FHA when advertising no children…unless you fall into the few categories that are listed in the Craiglist link I posted.


#46

@guthend:

I have the same situation about not traveling. ABB member since 2014 (I think) but never traveled. I used VRBO instead. Gasp! Haha!

The part that I found more strange was that I require ID and they only have a phone number verified so they couldn’t book anyway. Strange to ask me to bend the rules starting out? I love my house but, even so, I’d just check out other listings. :wink:


#47

Airbnb already gives me the option, so for me it should be okay to say “Not suitable for children under 12 due to safety concerns”.


#48

No. I am not being clear. We’re discussing two things here. One is whether or not the FHA applies to you. But that’s not really the important part I was referring to.

The second is that regardless of whether you qualify for the Mrs. Murphy exemption or not, it is illegal to advertise discriminating against children. This part is in the FHA law also. You can still discriminate behind closed doors, but you cannot advertise it. This is how those Airbnb hosts got sued by some random guy and an attorney. The craiglist link above explains it very well. Only a few situations qualify for the advertising exemption.

Airbnb is allowing options that have landed hosts in hot water. You are stuck between a rock and a hard place because Air forcing you to select an option.


#49

Is it illegal to say, “this property is not wheelchair accessible?”. To me that’s kind of the same as saying “Not safe for children.” It doesn’t mean you won’t rent to people in wheelchairs, it just means that they may have to maneuver stairs.


#50

I guess so. I also think that they have a VERY Bay Area outlook on how to over- and under-interpret federal law. In other words, they REALLY think they are doing the “right” thing, under law, vs. being self-serving, as you suggest.

To what extent though can Air “partly” follow federal laws? In other words, forcing people to accept kids even if they might fall into an on-site wood chipper … at least fed law as kooky as it often is, attempts to fairly balance the interests of both parties to the contract.

The biggest Air gets, the more the feds will probably not let them get away with nutty over-reach.

p.s. And don’t get me started on its search algorithm … favoring new hosts … screwing up locations … removing keywords … essentially steering certain guests to certain hosts … At some point, the Federal Trade Commission might force some changes.


#51

@Xena - Now, I remember. Even though I had selected was suitable for children. I think I removed anything about childproofing, etc. and moved it all to my house notes document. I didn’t want not childproofed, and other things to be viewed as discouraging statements, even though I said children were welcome.


#52

Sounds like it according to the Craiglist link. They have a couple of examples under the disability section.


#53

I understand what you’re saying. The problem comes with the choice Airbnb gives you. You can’t leave it blank. Either you agree to accept children or you agree you won’t. If you agree to accept children then they also want to know what you’ve done to safeguard your home. It’s a no win situation.


#54

I wonder what your responsibility as a host really is. I saw a case recently where a 1 year old left his apartment and fell off the balcony. His mother was arrested, of course, for neglect, etc. But as far as I know the apartment complex isn’t liable. The mother made the decision to live on the second floor of an apartment building and not supervise her child. Similarly, you wouldn’t expect an apartment complex to provide socket covers, baby gates, etc. You would expect them to not have exposed electrical wires or leaky gas lines, but these dangers apply to people of all ages. Really, what is a host’s expectation and liability?

When I travel with my 2 year old and stay in a hotel, I feel like I am responsible for keeping him safe. I don’t expect the hotel to cover sockets or monitor the swimming pool for me.


#55

AirBnb, is the advertising and booking medium for hosts. It presents hosts with an assortment of pre-worded options from which to choose for the basic version of our “advertised” House Rules.

A couple of those optional rules are “No smoking” and “No parties or events”. A couple other options are: “Not suitable for pets“ and “Not safe or suitable for children (0-12 years)”.

There is a difference between the two sets of rules. Two are absolute prohibitions because they use the word “No”; the others are not as stringent and declaratory. The words “not suitable” does not mean forbidden, it means not “appropriate” or “fitting”. It is not discriminatory advertising and it’s Air’s template, written by attorneys.

No worries folks.


#56

I think the problem is if someone overlooks or ignores that warning, not prohibition, and then asks to book with you anyway, you are in a bind. If your attitude is, it’s my house and I don’t accept children (like in my case, there is a reason I didn’t have any!) and they complain you’ll probably get a scolding from Airbnb.


#57

But the solution has always been to come up with other reasons to either direct the potential guest elsewhere or for declining. It’s not that hard - I’ve done it many times in 7+ yrs.

Nary a hiccup.


#58

@SandyToes Do you not allow instant book?


#59

No, never have. I’m the vetting type. :smile:


#60

And also whole house where you aren’t on site. That’s where most of the problems we hear about happen so you have to be careful. My airbnb is perfect for me and my lifestyle and I love instant book, I’m fine with flexible cancellation, too small really for families. I don’t have any problems not due to my magic powers but due to the perfect combination of the right space for the right guest.


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