Guest failed to mention advanced pregnancy and upcoming birth - whilst in our property

Nicole327
Level 1
Kilmichael, Ireland

Guest failed to mention advanced pregnancy and upcoming birth - whilst in our property

Hi All,

This is my first time using this forum, but I'm rather desperate and need some advice... We are fairly experienced hosts but now face an unexpected challenge:

Yesterday, we were expecting a couple who are booked to stay with us for a month. We had no specific info from them as regarded the purpose of their stay but, based on positive reviews and normal booking-related conversation, had accepted them. On their arrival we were completely overwhelmed by the fact that the lady was 38 weeks pregnant and had chosen our property with the idea of being closer to the maternity hospital. Not only are we not particularly close to the hospital, we are in no way prepared for any medical emergencies on that level, nor trained to aid in a potential homebirth! I was gobsmacked to say the least that somebody would knowingly put us and, after all, themselves in such a situation. Of course we are always happy to help and are listed a family friendly but not in the sense that we feel comfortable taking on such a huge responsibility, without ever being asked in the first place. The guests came equipped with baby things and today even had a midwife visiting them in our listing. This indicates that, from their perspective, all is planned but without ever consulting us or asking our permission!

Now my question is how do I deal with the guests? This feels weirdly like an unrehearsed Nativity play in which I have, for obvious reasons, no interest in taking part. The guests have not given us any information or clues as to their background story (as in WHY would you want to do this?) since their arrival yesterday and seemed completely oblivious to any issue when I tried to talk to them today after the midwife's visit. 

Anybody got any ideas how to proceed? Thanks a million in advance, 

Nicole

61 Replies 61
John5097
Level 10
Charleston, SC

Full moons, crescent moons, honey moons, baby moons, we got em covered! 

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Theresa550
Level 2
San Diego, CA

The issue here is not really that someone wants to stay at your place either to give birth or to be closer to the hospital where they will give birth, it’s that as soon as the baby is born they will want to check out. If they are okay with paying for all the booked nights, then fine. But if they expect to be refunded for unused nights, then that’s the real issue. That is the situation I am in right now. Our guests were very open and honest about the reason for their stay and I was a little nervous but resolved to stay firm about our cancellation policy. Now they will be returning from the hospital in a couple of days and want to leave 2 nights early. I don’t know if they will ask to be refunded for those last 2 nights. I’m waiting to see what they ask, and we might be willing to refund those nights but I’m not sure how we would actually go about doing it.

Ioannis21
Level 4
Artemida, Greece

What i would like to ask before addressing airbnb help desk, is does airbnb's policy give some extra "rights" to a guest who gives birth at my home during their stay ? Rights could be, prolonged stay, free stay, anything else ?

 

Betty-B--M-0
Level 10
Nairobi, KE

Phew! @Nicole327

Done, dusted, all in a day's work! So sorry for the 24 - 48 hours of pandemonium.  

I doubt you would have the ill luck of another crazy situation so hopefully you can happily put this behind you.

Just to speak to your point of how to prevent something similar in the future without adding a rule along the lines of "guests prohibited from giving birth on the premises (!)," I'll share what I've done in the hope that it may help spark some ideas from you or anyone else.

My first house rule states no visitors beyond the booked party, no solicitation, no events/parties, no exceptions.

Stiff, yes, but helpful in two ways:

(i) prevents bookings from guests who had these intentions thereby preventing problems even before they happen (works when guests read the rules prior to reserving. Has also worked after the fact e.g. one time, a booked guest cancelled after reading that visitors would not be possible)

(ii) it locks out "just a friend" who turns out to be hordes of partiers, overnight guests of the commercial kind, surreptitious mid-wives (not to make light of your experience at all), and all the other usual suspects. 

Presuming, of course, that these individuals are not "booked in" from the start, though sneaky guests are unlikely to actually book a mid-wife/overnighters/partiers, especially for an extended period.  

I know this isn't fail-safe and that it may not work for those with a more relaxed/open hosting style so it's merely a suggestion/idea prompt. 

Any other takers? 

 

Happy hosting, 

Betty

Jai3
Level 1
Vienna, Austria

Such cases offer valuable learning to us, the hosts. From this, I learn that it is important to ask guests for their purpose, if the stay is longer than a standard 2 to 3 days. One more rule 🙂

Linda108
Level 10
La Quinta, CA

Apparently this discussion thread has morphed from the original issue of what a host should do when a guest is using the space without proper disclosure to guest rights.  Interesting.  @Marit-Anne0 has been very clear and @Kenneth12 has given us all an alternative perspective.  I am inspired by this discussion because it is at the heart of our shared home industry.  We are not hotels with inpersonal amenities.  We are very personal.  We may even be in the space.  Regardless, we are more  dependent on accurate specific information than the generic hotel/motel experience.  If guests cannot or do not want to participate in that process, hosts have the right to cancel.  These hosts do not have to be subjected to judgement, but should be supported as good hosts.  @Helen3@Monika64

@Marit-Anne0 seem to speak to this.  Thank you.

Susan10
Level 9
Elkton, MD

Except that Kenneth gave bad information about U.S. laws and fair housing versus private property.

Kenneth12
Level 10
Chicago, IL

No,  I did not.  It is your responsibility to understand applicable local,  state and federal laws with may apply to your private property, including public accomodations laws.  Provisions of the Fair Housing Act clearly apply to listings on AirBnB:  you cannot,  for instance,  advertize a preference for race or religion.

There seems to be a tendency to wish to assert "I can do whatever I want on my private property."  That is simply not the case.

Susan10
Level 9
Elkton, MD

FHA does not apply to private property regardless of listing through ABB, it does not apply to units of 5 or smaller(even through a broker)and even if the owner does not live in one of the units.  You are simply wrong on this. 

 

Evenwhen FHA applies(landlords and not private property)  -it does not apply to pregnant women.  It only applies to those in a protected class - again which does not include pregnant women.

 

Public places and employers don't even fall under FHA, this act covers landlords and business such as hotels.  EEO covers employers.  Again, you seem to be confusing public places, and business with private property.

 

You said - AirBnB:  you cannot,  for instance,  advertize a preference for race or religion.  Again this does not include pregnancy no matter how much you want it too.  Second ABB corporate has to comply but they do not control the asset and hosts are free to discriminate in plenty of ways.  To suggest that any host on ABB gives up all rights to who comes on their property is not worth engaging you any further.  THis is not what the original topic was.

Kenneth12
Level 10
Chicago, IL

Once you list on AirBnB,  you're a business and (for purposed of some provisions of the FHA) you're a landlord.  Medical condition is reasonably "disability."  

I don't know what you mean by "private property,"  and frankly,  I don't think you do either.  You seem to be espousing some odd ideology that boils down to "it's my private property,  I can do whatever I want."   Plenty of bar and restaurant owners think the same.  It just ain't true.

Mark116
Level 10
Jersey City, NJ

@Kenneth12  This is an old thread, but I very much doubt that you'd find a judge or official who considered that someone planning a home birth in your house without tellling you would be covered under FHA. 

 

This isn't about discriminating against a pregnant woman, and refusing to rent to her because she's pregnant.  It's about the huge potential for liability should something go wrong with a home birth at your property, and the horrible dishonestly of booking a property with the intent to give birth at the property without telling the hosts.  

Kenneth12
Level 10
Chicago, IL

Again,  where did you attend law classes?  Boalt here,  currently sitting with collegues in the cafe U.Chicago Law,  my business partner has taught at Vanderbilt Law.  

I'd certainly argue that the disability provisions and other provisions of FHA apply.  FHA does apply to Airbnb listings,  and Airbnb says so.   You cannot rely on short summaries on web pages,  even from government agencies,  to explain or advise you on the law.  This is not legal advice;  when in doubt,  consult a qualified attorney on matters of law.

Joanna85
Level 10
Las Vegas, NV

I guess the first thought in my mind was:  who cares, they pay upon booking and as long as they leave the place the same as they found it, doesn't matter.  It's not like they are making drugs in your place.....it's a baby. It's not different than if someone needed a place close to the hospital because a loved one was in the hospital with heart surgery or something and they just wanted to be close by.  I had a guy come the other day to just check on his grandson the day they put him in hopspice care...isn't that what we are for--to host folks who are going to be in town for all sorts of reasons, vacation, graduations, sports, etc etc.  Am I missing something?!  If they are bringing a newborn to your home and you live there, that might be a whole other thing because babies like to scream and cry and have fun times while the rest of us humans sleep...but if you aren't there---it's kind of neat someone's first few days on earth are spent in your space.   You are not needed to oversee their needs--you are to provide the space as you list it--so relax.  🙂

Monika64
Level 10
New York, NY

@Joanna85 It's not about STAYING at her place, it's about planning a medical procedure at her place and NOT telling the host. 

Scott468
Level 3
Vancouver, Canada

@Monika64  Births are not a medical procedure.  It is actually only in the last 75 years or so that births have been taking place in hospitals.  Births are a natural process that every single human on this earth has to experience to be on this planet.   These guests are responsible for any damages or extra cleaning, just like any other guests.  

Kenneth12
Level 10
Chicago, IL

So if a guest schedules a telemedice session for sickle cell anemia during a stay...  

A birth is a major procedure.  On the other hand,  it's not a medical procedure per se,  being a natural occurence.   I concur that it is major enough to likely require some discussion,  but the original post focused on a guest showing up in the final weeks of pregnancy,  not on the prospect of birth in the cottage.  

It was unclear to me,  who started the drama aspect here,  but it seemed quite possible the host was at least half at fault for that.

Helen3
Level 10
Bristol, United Kingdom

All I can say @Kenneth12 is thank God Ireland is not the US.

 

I cannot see anything that has been written here that would lead you to assume any rudeness and angst between the host and the guest was in any way the fault of @Nicole327. There is no reason (apart from you being argumentative and  unpleasant for the sake of it) to state the host was  'at least half responsible' for the situation.

 

This is simple

 

1. A guest and her partner arrived at her property without disclosing they were coming to stay with the intention of having a home birth there.

 

2. The host lives in a village which is quite far from maternity facilities in Cork, so if anything was to go wrong, this could present a danger to the child and possibly mother who wouldn't be able to access timely medical help. (As a mother I would never put my unborn child in that situation).

 

3. When the host, went to discuss the situation with the parents,  to try and understand their plans,  the mother became highly abusive and shut the door in the host's face and then continued to be abusive to her. This is unacceptable behaviour from a guest.

 

I can tell you have given birth to children being pregnant has never caused me to have a personality change such that I become rude to complete strangers. To say that pregnancy can impact on a women's personality in this way is patronising in the extreme.

 

If you want a homebirth this is something that needs careful planning and you would want to be surrounded by family/friends with fast access to hospital care, should problems arise. 

Marit-Anne0
Level 10
Bergen, Norway

@Kenneth12

Now you are just being quarrelsome - airbnb give us the leeway to cancel if we are uncomfortable with the guest. It was granted, they are relocated.  Problem solved.  

Cormac0
Level 10
Kraków, Poland

@Nicole327

 

Where do this couple live that your place is the nearest that they can get to a Materity hospital ? the problem as I see it is, they probably won't want to leave when the month is up.

 

Regards

Cormac

The Explorer's Club Krakow III

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Oomesh-Kumarsingh0
Level 10
Pamplemousses, Mauritius

Just be yourself dont change anything deal with them as you used to deal with previous guests give them some freedom dont visit too often. Good luck and thank you for hosting such guests this is the human part of Airbnb it only shows how better this place is than anywhere else!!!

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