A member of our Facebook Group received a request from a guest whose blind son has a service dog. There is just one problem… she has a strict ‘no pets’ policy. Now, sure, Airbnb does have a policy for ‘no pets’, however in extreme circumstances, this can be waived. Despite if she chooses to lift this policy or simply deny the request, it’s a very tricky and delicate situation. So let’s get in to it!
There have been multiple suggestions on the group regarding what the host should do. However, at the end of the day, it is completely up to her. In saying this, there are some factors to take in to consideration prior to the final decision. Some fellow hosts have provided some very candid and logical suggestions. This has made it easier and more clear for her to come to a conclusion.
One fellow hosts suggested that in this case, the ‘no pets’ policy does not apply as it is a service dog. If you have enforced this policy but decline a booking based on the service dog, you are liable for violation of Airbnb’s Discrimination Policy. Moreover, even taking in to consideration the presence of a service dog can be seen as immoral and simply disrespectful. This is basically the only reason where the ‘no pet’ policy can be and will be waived.
If you do however decide to decline a booking based on the service dog, it will, without a doubt, see you banned from Airbnb. This ban is for an undisclosed period of time due to the violation.
Aren’t sure what to do? Ask the guest if they don’t mind paying an extra ‘pet’ fee could be a great option. If the guest is willing to pay a little bit extra for the presence of their service dog, then it is a great sign. It also helps you, as the host, as it gives you a bit of leeway if you are unsure of what to do.
If your property is not wheelchair accessible or equipped with features for disabled guests, then it might be a good idea to get to work and fix that, if possible. If there is little time to make adjustments, just ensure you let the guest know that your property is not currently of an accessible nature so they are informed accordingly.
Sure, you have a strict ‘no pet’ policy, but a guest is requesting to book your property. The fact that he is blind and requires a service dog does not and should not change anything. The best option is to be accommodating, as you would be with any guest and if there is any uncertainty. Simply ask the guest if they don’t mind paying a little bit extra as there will be one more ‘person’ than expected joining them. If you do encounter a guest who is disabled and requires assistance in any way just remember these 3 simple steps:
What would you do in this situation? Would you try to deny service anyway? Why or why not? Let us know in the comments below!
Jake Leavy has worked in the content industry for 8+ years. Travel writing has been his main focus, however, he also has luxury hotel management experience under his belt. He has traveled to over 50 countries and loves immersing himself into different cultures. Jake combines his passion for travel and hospitality experience to offer hosts tips and tricks to improve their business.
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