After carefully searching for two weeks, I finally decided on an Airbnb to book for a month, while I was new to the Los Angeles area. It was a decent commute for me, and the price was good. Most importantly, it allowed pets. I have a service dog, so legally through both Airbnb and laws in the state of California, the dog is not declared as a pet, is not subject to pet fees or rent — unless there’s damage caused by the animal — and the service animal does not need to be disclosed until after the booking. A host cannot legally refuse to rent to a person who has a service dog; it is discriminatory.
However, because I don’t want to impose on a host that does not want animals on their property, I specifically chose a place that allowed pets. My booking was accepted, but as soon as I explained I had a service dog, the host went ballistic sending a series of messages in rapid succession that I could not have the dog there because I didn’t pay a pet fee when I booked and didn’t include the dog as a pet. I explained the legalities of the situation calmly but also said that I didn’t want to stay where we were not welcome, so she could please cancel and I book a stay elsewhere.
She started saying that what I was doing was illegal too and stated how upset she was and that she was on the phone with Airbnb and she couldn’t cancel without a penalty. Honestly, she should have a penalty for her discriminatory actions. She told me I had to cancel. This was two weeks before my stay; this meant I would lose the $2,000 I had just paid. I told her why I wasn’t going to do that, but she then started saying she couldn’t be a Superhost for a year if she cancelled my reservation.
She agreed to refund me, but Airbnb needed to have done more. They need to educate hosts on this type of discrimination and impose penalties on hosts who violate the terms. This was a very frustrating experience and wasted the better part of my day dealing with it. Oh, and on top of that, it can be up to two weeks before the refund arrives, so now I don’t have the funds to even book another place.