November 20, 2017, San Francisco, CA — Airbnb, the California Council of the Blind (CCB) and the California Foundation for Independent Living Centers (CFLIC) today announced they will continue to work together to build on Airbnb’s ongoing work to make travel more accessible for people with disabilities. Under the agreement, Airbnb, CCB and CFILC will work together as the company maintains and expands its ongoing efforts to help anyone using the Airbnb platform find a place to stay. Last week, Airbnb announced the acquisition of Accomable. Founded in 2015, by Srin Madipalli and Martyn Sibley – two friends with Spinal Muscular Atrophy who have travelled all over the world, Accomable was launched to make it easier for everyone to travel, regardless of disability. Airbnb also released a new “accessibility needs” checklist. The new features allow hosts to designate whether their listings have step-free entry to rooms, entryways that are wide enough to accommodate a wheelchair, and more. The features help hosts be descriptive about their home’s accessibility, and give guests the clear information they need to find the right home for them.
“Airbnb is committed to creating a world where anyone can belong anywhere,” said Airbnb Director of Diversity and Belonging David King. “Ensuring our community is open and accessible to everyone has been a key priority and our ongoing work with the the California Foundation for Independent Living Centers and the California Council of the Blind will help ensure we are designing and building a community that meets everyone’s needs.”
“Service animals provide critical support to travelers with disabilities. The California Council of the Blind is pleased to be working with Airbnb to ensure that the rights of individuals who use service animals are understood and that they are welcome when traveling with Airbnb” said Judy Wilkinson
“Having the ability to travel and utilize a platform that provides accessibility options for travelers with disabilities is movement in the right direction” said Christina Mills, Interim Executive Director for CFILC, “We are excited that Airbnb is working towards giving travelers with disabilities the same options as all other customers they serve. I am looking forward to working together with Airbnb to increase access for people with disabilities.”
Under the agreement, Airbnb will maintain and expand its ongoing efforts to aid travelers with disabilities –including individuals who use assistance animals and persons who use wheelchairs or other mobility aids–by continuing to implement a series of ongoing initiatives including:
- Non-Discrimination Policy. Airbnb’s non-discrimination policy will continue to prevent discrimination against people with disabilities. Airbnb will continue to enforce its existing non-discrimination policy, which calls for hosts who discriminate against people with disabilities to be warned or in some cases, permanently removed from the Airbnb community.
- Easier Searching for Guests. To make identifying a listing that meets the needs of travelers with disabilities easier, Airbnb will continue to maintain and improve search filters that allow individuals to better identify accessible listings. Additionally, Airbnb will provide hosts with new information regarding the steps they can take to better describe their listings and accommodate people with disabilities.
- Assistance Animal Support. Airbnb has clarified its policies regarding assistance animals in a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) webpage. Among other reminders, the FAQ confirms that hosts are generally required to accept assistance animals unless the animal poses a threat to health or safety, even if their listing or house rules state “no pets.”
- Resources for the Airbnb Team. Every Airbnb team member already receives anti-bias training, including how to respond to instances of discrimination against people with disabilities. Airbnb will continue to develop and expand this training to ensure that its team of specialists who help identify and combat discrimination are available to assist anyone who believes they have been denied accommodation because of a disability.
- Open Doors. Consistent with Airbnb’s existing Open Doors policy, Airbnb will ensure anyone who is discriminated against because of a disability is rebooked promptly at no additional cost.
The full agreement is available at www.airbnb.com. CCB and CFILC were represented by Gay Grunfeld and Kara Janssen of Rosen Bien Galvan & Grunfeld, LLP. A copy of the agreement is also available at www.rbgg.com.
Founded in 2008, Airbnb’s mission is to create a world where people can belong when they travel by being connected to local cultures and having unique travel experiences. Its community marketplace provides access to millions of unique accommodations from apartments and villas to castles and treehouses in more than 65,000 cities and 191 countries. With Experiences, Airbnb offers unprecedented access to local communities and interests, while Places lets people discover the hidden gems of a city as recommended by the people that live there. Airbnb is people-powered and the easiest way to earn a little extra income from extra space in a home or from sharing passions, interests and cities.
California Council of the Blind (CCB) is a non-profit membership organization composed of Californians who are blind or have low vision. CCB’s mission is to gain full independence and equality of opportunity for all blind and visually impaired Californians. To read more about CCB visit: www.ccbnet.org/.
The California Foundation for Independent Living Centers (CFILC) is a non-profit organization founded in 1982 and composed of twenty-one Independent Living Centers throughout California. CFILC serves over 300,000 individuals with all types of disabilities and is dedicated to removing barriers and promoting equal opportunities for people with disabilities. To read more about CFILC visit: www.cfilc.org.
Full text of the agreement here: Joint agreement PDF: RBGG-Airbnb Executed Voluntary Agreement with Exhibits – 9-20-17 Joint agreement Word: RBGG-Airbnb Executed Voluntary Agreement, w_Exhibits, 9-20-17
Selected Media Coverage
Airbnb boosts accessibility following pre-litigation settlement with California advocacy groups, The Recorder, November 21, 2017
Rosen Bien aids agreement with Airbnb to ease rentals by disabled people, Daily Journal, November 28, 2017