Don’t Expect Any Host Support — it is Airbnb Hell

I am a property owner that has had listings with Airbnb for six years, with reviews that have been 4 or 5 stars 100% of the time. Even so, Airbnb chose to support a terrible guest who had been listed with them for two years (and had no reviews) over me. Not only did they support her, but they were rude and threatening to me.

The guest did a same day instant booking at 10:00 AM and then late in the afternoon sent an image text that was blank. I sent a text telling her that there wasn’t an image, and around 7:00 that evening she said it was her service dog information. They had already checked in.

We have a strict no animals policy. Our cabins are new, and we want to keep them dander free for the comfort of guests with allergies. Furthermore, our area had lodging options that accepted animals, so they didn’t need to ignore our no animal policy in order to find lodging. The guest also never provided any evidence that her dog was actually a service dog. I believe this is a scam she has been pulling wherever she travels.

After they checked out, I found short black hairs everywhere. I had to wash all of the fabric, including the curtains. I also vacuumed the floor twice and then mopped it. I finally thought I had gotten all of the hair out of the cabin, but when I opened the fridge there were short black hairs on the shelves inside.

I posted a review of her stay with information about the condition of the cabin and a private remark that we were disappointed that they wouldn’t respect our wish to keep our new cabins dander and animal hair free. The guest complained to Airbnb about my review (which I had posted to protect other hosts from her). They removed my review and sent me a threatening email that they could remove my account for being discriminatory. I asked Airbnb to explain what was discriminating about my review and they did not respond.

We are removing our listings from Airbnb and hope that other hosts will learn from our mistake and choose somewhere else to list their property. I would love advice on finding listing agents that have the backs of property owners.

Just as a side note, I understand that the ADA has tried to provide protection to those with disabilities, and I would totally support someone with a disability who needed a service animal. However, I don’t believe this guest or her husband have a disability. They were simply taking advantage of a system set up to protect those with real needs.

Airbnb Tried to Evict us the Night before my Husband’s Funeral

I rented an Airbnb for myself and my adult children. The purpose of our trip was a memorial service for my husband/their father. He had passed away unexpectedly three weeks ago. We checked into the Airbnb on Friday, March 16th with my son’s trained service dog. Shortly after we arrived, the host started texting me about Levi (my son’s dog). I have saved all the texts, ugly messages calling me an indecent person for not disclosing ahead of time that my son had a service dog.

She was rude and demanded documentation, which I provided, even though that was out of line and she had no right to ask for it. We remained in the Airbnb Friday night. On Saturday, my daughter and one of my sons went out to do errands related to my husband’s memorial, which was to take place on Sunday, March 18th. My son remained at home with Levi (my son is 25 years old).

Shortly after we returned to the Airbnb, I had a call from Airbnb telling me that they were concerned about the situation, they had a call from the Airbnb host saying that Levi had been left at the home alone (he was never alone, not even for a second). I told her that he had never been left alone, my disabled son stayed at the house with him. The Airbnb “specialist” said that she would send me of list of alternate places that we could move to.

At this juncture, my husband’s memorial was less than 18 hours away, and we had dinner cooking already. We are reasonable folks, though, and looked at the other properties they sent us. There was only one property in close enough proximity to the memorial service; the rest were anywhere from an hour to two hours away. The property they suggested we move to was $3800 per night, and we were expected to pay it.

That was not possible; the $650 per night we were paying for where we were staying was already too much to spend. My husband had just died, and he was the sole provider. When we told Airbnb that was too much money, they said to both my daughter and myself “Well, I can give you an hour.”

I said, “An hour to what?”

And she replied, “An hour to get out!”

They were going to forcibly remove us from the Airbnb, myself and my kids and my son’s service dog. I became hysterical. Where would we go? We couldn’t even pack in an hour. My daughter is an attorney and was able to get on the phone with the owner of the house. I’m not sure how she did it but she convinced her to let us stay. Thank God. But the scary thing for me is that Airbnb was going to put all of us out on the street because of my son’s dog. It’s very scary that Airbnb has the power to evict a family who did nothing wrong.

Airbnb Host has a Problem with Service Animals

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Here’s what happened to myself and my group in Charleston, SC with an Airbnb host. When we first booked the place, we disclosed that we had a service animal with us. He was not an “emotional support dog” or “therapy dog” or “doggie” as the host called him. This is a dog trained specifically to help someone with a disability. She first asked us if the guest was blind; this was a little rude, but okay…

Our guest does not look disabled, but you do not have to look disabled to have a service animal. It’s like asking someone in a wheelchair why they can’t just walk. I have manners, so I would never ask something like that. She then told us to keep the dog off of every surface in the house and to keep him in the garden. The garden was a junkyard shared with two other random dogs. Mind you, the dog isn’t “well behaved” but literally trained to provide a medical service.

We had the dog with us at every point during the trip and he was in the house only when we slept. He has to sleep with his person so this was non-negotiable due to the nature of the disability. He didn’t get on the couch or on the other beds. While I understand ignorance, this is what followed.

The owner had us followed by her brother who lives on the property. We saw strange people staring at us out of windows and hiding behind cars. We are normal professionals and never once got rowdy at the house. I personally got rowdy and didn’t come back to the house one night, but that’s besides the point. We left the house in pretty normal condition, the only exception being the towels. I put them in the washer and next to it because I didn’t want to ruin the floors or leave them on the beds.

Apparently the single bite of dog food left on the floor and the fact that there was a dog present was enough evidence to charge us $300. We also lost a fork? She then went through the house and itemized everything we did wrong. This included ruining her towels, moving a plant, sleeping in the fourth bed (perfect for midday naps), ruining her sheets, ruining her blinds, and letting the dog poop in the garden. None of these things happened, including us letting the dog poop on the property because we were too scared of the garden. We are also respectful people with access to bags.

After having us followed, being incredibly invasive and rude, and discriminating against a legitimately disabled person, the host had the gall to write this review. This is what I have to say to her. We spent $1000 to stay in a subpar illegal rental in downtown Charleston. Her sheets were uncomfortable, her house was dingy, the floors gave me a splinter, and the only redeemable aspect of this stay was the location. Additionally, I spent two years learning a thing or two about special education and every aspect of her questioning guests violates the Americans with Disabilities Act as well as a basic right to privacy. Sorry about the dog kibble that was “disgusting” but it was clearly an accident. Also, our four legged working professional is a hard working man on the clock and a good boy off the clock.

Service Dog Rejected from Airbnb Reservation

My host was lovely at first. She simply reached out to me to confirm that I was traveling alone, a non-smoker and had no pets. I confirmed that I did not smoke, but let her know that I did have a well-trained, quiet and calm service dog. Then things started to go south.

First, she indicated that she would have to confirm with the “owner” whether my service dog would be admitted. I’m a lawyer, and when I calmly pointed out that it was technically a violation of federal law and clearly a violation of Airbnb policy not to admit Huck (my dog), she started to argue. She told me that no private owner could be required to admit pets. I responded that Huck was not, in fact, a “pet.”

Next, she told me I’d likely be charged a cleaning fee – another blatant violation of Airbnb policy. Then, she switched channels on me and claimed that “some owners” have severe allergies. I said of course I would understand if the owner had a bad allergy, but I was confused since the listing was for a building entirely separate from the main house, with granite floors. I encouraged her to review Airbnb’s newly-minted non-discrimination policies, although her responses repeatedly demonstrated complete ignorance of her responsibilities as a host.

Finally, I posted the full text of the policies in a message – to up her odds of bothering to read them – at which point she interrogated me about my disability. She was rude, inconsiderate and ignorant. Ultimately, she allowed my request to expire, even though our conversation took place over the course of four hours. I reported her to Airbnb and the Virginia Fair Housing Office, although I’m not hopeful that any mitigating action will be taken.

Poor Huck and I were just looking for a quiet spot for a couple weeks – on a horse farm in Virginia, no less. No such luck. If you have respect for the rights of the disabled, stay away from this host.

Aren’t Service Dogs Welcome at Airbnb Properties?

I tried to book an Airbnb in Norman, OK for three nights in mid-September with someone who has a no pets policy. However, I have a service dog. A real, bonafide, has to be with me, medical alert, highly trained with impeccable manners, service animal as defined by the Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990. As a courtesy, I told the host that I would be traveling with my service dog, so she would not be surprised. I later received a reply that she had accepted a long term rental last week. The property still shows that it is available for the dates that I requested in mid-September. If I am truly not welcome there, I am not going to force the issue, but if she is in violation of Title III of the Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990 she should be made aware of her legal liability in situations such as mine, as should all Airbnb hosts. If there is a good reason that a property stays listed as available, even though it is not, I would like to know it. If you are not familiar with the ADA of 1990 I encourage you to research it (although I would be very surprised if this issue has not arisen before now). In it, it is stated specifically that I cannot be treated differently than any other customer, by any business anywhere, because I have a service animal with me. I cannot be given a table in the back because of her. I cannot be charged a pet deposit at a lodging. I cannot be refused any service, or entry to any place that I would be allowed to go without her because she is with me.