My first experience with AirBnb should have been more positive than it was. Twenty plus years running BnB with other sites was very successful however AirBnb is taking over fast. So I joined. First guests....Nationally famous, well travelled...and travelling with a "service dog" for his blind wife. I hesitated as we have a no pet policy. (too many expensive damages to carpets, fleas, poop on front lawn, etc). However did you know that you cannot refuse a guest with a guide/service dog. Is there a difference between the two? Some have registration papers and others not and depends on state, province, country policies. So I said yes to a 33 day booking.
This is what transpired after we communicated and they agreed that the dog would be with them 24/7. They said they would arrive at 5pm (and did call shortly before that to say they were in the community). They actually arrived 3 hrs late. The dog did not have a collar, coat, harness, lead, etc. Upon arrival, they "dropped off" the dog in the apartment and took off for a two hour dinner. The dog did not stop barking the entire time. Day two, I took them extra keys. The dog was running out of control over the hardwood floors playing with a ball...and she looked as blind as I did. Day 3, they called and said there was too much noise from the front of the building. Day 5, they called and asked that I have my family leave the property as it was disturbing their silence. Day 7, they did not allow me in to the apartment to clean and vacuum the dog hair. Day 14, I was in cleaning and the counters were scratched and gouged so badly because they did not "see" the three cutting boards on the counter. Day 15, they complained that the noise at night was so loud they could not sleep. Day 16 I was called and told that someone in our local grocery store parking lot had hit the front end of the blind wife's rental car. The dog never left the apartment and she was travelling 60 km daily to go to work????? There was poop everywhere and they were taking the dog next door....Lawn Bowling Greens...to play frizby. OMG she IS blind as she did not read the sign that says "DO NOT TRESPASS...KEEP OFF THIS GRASS". Many calls at this point to Airbnb. I was frantic. They left the apartment to do a "GiG" in another province for five days and I went in to clean. I took pictures....lots. I vacuumed three times and jammed the unit with massive balls of dog hair...everywhere. The sectional sofa was now in two pieces (unhooked????), bigger, better gouges in our beautiful new counter, burn holes from a match (which I found!)on the comforter that went from top through the sheets, matress pad and matress. Wire waste basket mutilated, etc, etc. The dog gouged and scratched the hardwood floors and it took one month of vacuuming to finally get all of the hair out of the carpets. Never seen anything like this. And oh btw, the car damages....pretty sure she did that herself as I took a good hard look. It would appear that she didnt pay attention when backing out and probably dinged the driver side front bumper on the car parked beside her...probably because she is blind....and didnt have the dog with her. In a small community, people are usually pretty conscientious and courteous. We would never hit and run in a parking lot but rather leave a note, "sorry here is my number". When they did leave I cried and it took two days to clean up after them. All the dishes were dirty and left for me in the sink. Dog Hair, Dog Hair, Dog Hair. and I became responsible for damaged to our neighbouring greens.
Before saying yes to guests with pets, do your local research...or as I do...book the first one or two nights to your spouse. "Decline".
Hey @Judy you got royally scammed about the service dog bit! What a horrible story! No real service dog would be without a halter, leash and would never be anywhere except at his master's side. That's why people pay 1,000's for them.
I guess the moral of the story is to require proof / certification that their dog is in fact a service dog. I would put the burdon on a prospective guest to prove their dog's status. Even if they don't have a certification, they certainly can provide proof of the dog's training to become a service dog.
I'm glad you posted your story so that other hosts can benefit from your experience!
It is not legal to ask for "certification" because there is no certification for a service dog. Some groups that train service dogs do require their own internal certification but there is no state or national program. It is against the ADA to ask for paperwork and you cannot charge a "pet" fee because service dogs are no pets.
I am so sorry that these people lied to you and said their dog is a service dog when it obviously was not. But you could have asked them to leavel. I would suggest you read the ADA business brief here: https://www.ada.gov/service_animals_2010.htm
Any service dog that is out of control barking et. al. can be asked to leave. So you could have said - your dog is doing x, y, z and say you are welcome to stay but you need to remove the dog (board it at a local vet for example). And if the dog does any damage you can charge for that - but you cannot charge extra for a real service dog.
Service dogs are calm, because they work in public all the time. They are trained not to bark unless it is an alert (say for a oncoming seizure). Our daughter has her second service dog (first one just retired with us). We've been on trains, planes and in hotels and also rented houses with a service dog - even being away from home two weeks - in a house he did not bark the entire two weeks. He only barks on command (sign language) to alert us if our daughter needs us.
There are a couple of questions you can ask. Is the dog a service dog for a person with a disability (you cannot ask about the disability) and what TASKS is it trained to perform. Most service dog handlers / or owners will be very accommodating in letting you know these things. We love both our retired service dog and the current working dog but I would give away everything I own if my daughter didn't need him.
Again I am so sorry for your experience. This is not only an affront to you but also to everyone with a disability who needs a service dog to mitigate that disability.
I just emailed via twitter airbnbn help. I am asking for proof also. Did you know they allow "emotional" service dogs in their non discrimation policy??? Plus I'm preeved the service dog rule change got slipped thru without any notice to hosts. I told them I will no longer allow ANY pets.
Guest 2/15/2017 MSG AT 11:39AM
It's been brought to my attention to let you know i have a service dog. She is small. 20lbs. Also when you say no smoking, may i smoke outside of the house. I have my own ash tray and will dispose the butts from there directly into your outdoor trash. Please let me know
Host Responded at 2:00PM :
I’m really at a loss to know how to respond at this late in the process as adherence to listing policies**** must be addressed prior to booking—not 24 hours afterwards and 24 hours prior to check in. My calendar has been blocked since yesterday when the reservation confirmed. As you know, I am at work and cannot call customer service. I can try to msg them on twitter, but it will be hours before they respond.
*****House & listing rules In summary:
No smoking on property
all pets must be approved by the host
AibBNB presents the terms, policies, conditions, and my house rules PRIOR to booking. You are required to confirm that you are in agreement before you can book.
You also received the following automated HOST message when you booked:
“Thx for your consideration, but pls read entire listing, pics, & rules PRIOR to booking. Failure to do so is not the fault of the host and there will be no exceptions to the cancellation policy. “
2/14/17 AT 2:36PM I sent a message to guest:
………..If you haven’t already, please read the entire listing to ensure a good fit PRIOR to booking (parking, house manual, owner\host living in the basement area, my pets, etc….). …………….
I am copying & pasting my house rules which was agreed to at booking:
MY HOUSE RULES:
No parties or events
May not be safe or suitable for infants (Under 2 years)
Check-in is after 1PM
……No parties, no drugs or illegal activity. Anyone under 21 will NOT use or be provided alcoholic beverages by another guest. If alcohol is used by guests over the age 21, should be done in moderation, no drunkenness. No smoking on property. Courteous noise levels, especially between the hours of 11pm-8am. …..
…. The person booking must be the pet owner and all pets must be approved by the host. …… NO pets on bed\bedding or furniture, if pet hair is found on bedding, or special cleaning is required, additional pet fees will be charged to the guest. ….
… Please report any problems right away via airbnb msg. Emergencies ONLY by voice or text (cell in listing). ….
THIS IS NOT THE ENTIRE AGREEMENT, BUT I HAVE INCLUDED THE APPLICABLE POLICIES FROM OUR CONVERSATIONS.
3:09PM I sent another message that included: “You agree to the cancellation policies when you booked” ….
Other Issues: (Besides smoking & pets!!!)
Calling my cell TWICE when its in the house rules & I made it clear msg thru airbnb inbox (FOR DOCUMENATION) in my very first messages sent at 2:36PM
Disregarding check in time
ITS NOT THE HOSTS FAULT I’M JUST FINDING OUT ABOUT THIS – GUEST TOTALLY DISREGARDED ALL POLICIES AND RULES PRIOR TO BOOKING – not to mention my reminder emails
WHAT CAN I DO????
You need to understand that a service dog is NOT a pet. If (even) a service dog is disruptive - barking (unless it is for an alert) or aggressive etc. you can tell the owner that they are welcome to stay but the dog cannot stay. This is not a problem with a "real" service dog. I would also suggest you look up the statutes in your state. In some states (FL comes to mind) those "faking" their dog as a service dog can be fined.
So I didn't read all of this yet. But I do want to share there there is a distinct functional and legal difference between pets and service dogs. Legitimate service dogs are not pets... not under applicable law... and not in the rest of the world. So, just so you know, saying that you do not allow pets will not change anything in those circumstances where you are required to accomodate a disabled person by law. Trust me, those of us who are disabled service dog handlers are just as upset if not more by the people who fraudulent misrepresent themselves as disabled... and the people who have service dogs that are not appropriately trained or handled. But pets and service dogs are not the same thing. And the applicable laws (at least in the U.S.) do not treat them the same.
Agree with the above. Service animals are not pets. You need to educate yourself about the federal laws involving service animals before you are sued or fined. If you don’t agree to have service animals, then please no longer be a host with airbnb. I’ve been a host for a number of years, and educating yourself comes with the territory. Good luck!
unfortunately there is no "proof." Anyone telling you they have a registered dog is likely scamming you. Go on ebay and you can get your pet registered as a service dog. I paid $5k for my REAL service dog and he was 1/4 the price of others. No he isn't perfect, but frankly I don't think any dog is. I have a friend who's dad is actually blind and that dog was excited to see her (when they had previously been apart for weeks) and ran to her. This is not OK for a guide dog as it will pull the handler off balance.
Real service dogs, like mine, have to have a lead (by law) and are allowed to be kicked out for damage or for being a distrubance. If you are going to treat your home like a hotel it is your responsibility to know the laws so you can hold people accountable and not get in trouble. No you can't include hair as damage, but I'd wonder if the poop is. The poop is the handler's responsibility and if I had been there that long I would've vacuumed myself and been horrified if someone had to do it for me. Real dogs wouldn't be left alone and leaving the dog as well as the barking would've allowed you to kick them out.
Check out the ADA info
All good, but if the booking says no dogs, why force a service dog on them ? Much better to book somewhere dog friendly.
As as many have noted, you can't tell if it's a service dog since there is no standard documentation.
No one is forcing an owner to make money by renting their house. They decide on affecting commerce (that is the activity of buying and selling). If they do decide to make money by advertising to the public, why should those with disabilities be excluded from the public? You might just exclude by race, ethnicity, sexual orientation et. al.
The owner has choices to rent their property or not to rent. A person with a disability does not have a choice in being disabled. Those who decide to participate in commerce activities by renting properties don't have a legal right to exclude disabled patrons. When you exclude a person with a disability (using medical equipment - i.e. a service dog) you violate their civil rights.
You may not agree with the law - I didn't create the law, so please don't jump down my throat because I believe following it is the right thing to do.
The ADA was modeled after the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin – and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 -- the ADA is an "equal opportunity" law for people with disabilities.
You are wrong. You need to read the federal law. Obviously, you have not.
Maybe you would like to cite the law you are speaking about that exempts private vacation homes? I showed you an excerpt from the ADA that defines a place of public accommodation. Maybe you can enlighten all by giving us the law/statute that say any privately owned home is exempt from Federal and State laws?
Nancy, you took an excerpt. That's all it is. You did not look at the full application of the law. You also links to a broken link. As I said, this is what I do for a living. A private home is exempt even when rented short term. Your excerpt also allows for that in the occupancy description.
You are correct and Nancy E is incorrect! I had called the ADA Hotline and the rep said that private homes are exempt when rented under 30 days!
I am on the thread because I had an experience with a person with two service dogs (GSD and pitbull). The worst they did was run loose to my caretakers' door...which actually could have been a disaster had their territorial dog been out. But, I also fielded the smoking question which sounded remarkably like one of the above posts...but she did not have a small dog.
What could have happened prompted me to look into the law...that's when I found out that any scammer can self-certify that their dog is a service dog, pay $250, and get the trappings. People with disabilities can also train their own dogs (regardless of training ability). As a dog business owner, I have met few certified trainers who can train properly, much less a layperson (and I met some laypeople can train better than certified trainers)!
I have HIGH respect for any true service dog trained by a valid entity or--if self-trained--with a valid entity's help, and commend the dog's service just as I would a soldier's!! In fact, we used to let service dogs in free to our private dog park so that they had a chance to relax.
I am so thoroughly disgusted by this whole thing. There must a be a governernment-run certification program. I dont need to know if a human has a disability (none of my beeswax) but I do need to know that the dog is the real deal so I can know AHEAD of time whether he is safe.
Of note, after I bent over backwards for them--including fielding questions about renting our "BEAUTIFUL" property long term for their dog business (which I politiely declined)--they gave me a 3-star review.
We have livestock on the property, and the caretakers' dog is territorial. That is my out. But my "out" must now apply to all service dogs....which was never my intention. And now the innocent suffer.
How does not having to show anything or do any real thing to train a dog help a disabled person in any way or prevent discrimination in any way? If some dude is walking around with a dog, then everyone can make the leap that there is some sort of disability...so anonymity is not the goal. A person with a dog walking in a public place where dogs cannot go is going to be queried (they do not have to wear id)...so ease of mobility is also not the goal.
So, all this law does is erode the confidence in anyone with a service dog rather than elevate them to the respect and admiration the real ones deserve!....oh....and it makes people like me look for a legal out...so it REDUCES access not increases it.