No Seizures Allowed According to Airbnb

My husband and I were looking for a place to take the kids for the summer and found a beautiful summer home in Arizona. It was perfect: pool, three bedrooms, big property, the works. We booked it.

After the 48-hour window had passed and I really started to read the reviews I realized that the wording on the post was an outlandish lie and that the owner’s son would also be on the property in the detached house. One of the reviews also stated that when one of the guests was about to operate something around the house, they would get a message telling them how to operate that devise. There were cameras everywhere and someone was watching.

After reaching out to the host, she refused to cancel and stated that the 48-hour window had passed for a full refund and that at best we would only be able to get a refund amount for half of what we spent. Having plans for a summer vacation, the thought of losing ~$800 was not ideal so we decided to bite the bullet and go instead.

As a good gesture, and because we had gotten off to a rocky start, my husband reached out to the host and apologized for getting off on the wrong foot, reassuring her that we were happy to be coming to such a beautiful home (despite having an unknowing guest). The next day, as a common courtesy, he let her know that we were bringing his seizure service dog. The host said that no pets would be allowed, even service animals.

After pointing to Airbnb’s policy on assistance animals, she said that having the dogs present would impede the safety of the owner of the home whom I was lead to believe would not be present while we were there. She then went on to say that having the animals there would be a life or death scenario for the owner who would be present and that if we brought my seizure service dogs, the police would be called on us and my family and I would be escorted off of the property and arrested.

I wasn’t totally clear on Airbnb’s policy on discrimination or the Arizona laws on disability discrimination but it seems a bit extreme to call the police to have Airbnb guests escorted or arrested because of the need for a service animal. I even told the host that if it was going to be a big problem, she could cancel the reservation and we would find somewhere else to vacation. She said she would not be cancelling, and the police would be waiting for us.

Having spent about 12 hours on hold with Airbnb for the past several days, I was starting to see that their anti-discrimination policy is nothing more than a webpage set up to look good. Now to make the final decision, lose $1,600 (as the host now stated that she wouldn’t be paying back anything) or have the police called on a man in a wheelchair.

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Posted in Airbnb Guest Stories and tagged , , , , , .

3 Comments

  1. How about reading the reviews before booking, and not after the cancellation period has expired? I like dogs, but I also know people who are terrified of them for various reasons. An Airbnb is not a hotel, it is someone’s home; at the end of the day they make the rules, just as you make the rules in your home.

  2. Never ever tell a host you are bringing a service dog.

    Call support late at night or early morning.

    Don’t back down. Get your full refund.

  3. Omg that’s awful! What’s happened since your post? We too are renting in AZ for half the summer, same same! I’m very curious how this has played out. There have to be some laws regarding this. Why is it a life or death situation for the owner? If the owner isn’t there how is it a safety issue? And I’d actually love for the cops to get called for a situation like this – is don’t think it would go well for them!

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