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Using Airbnb for University Business (all fund sources, including sponsored projects)

The University recognizes that short-term lodging services such as Airbnb, Vrbo, HomeAway, FlipKey, etc. are very popular.  As these services have become ubiquitous, University faculty, staff, and students have expressed the desire to utilize them for University business activities.  After evaluating this business need and the legal terms and conditions associated with these services, the University is implementing the following guidelines (in addition to the detailed guidelines on the Office of the General Counsel’s website):

Guidelines for Using Airbnb

1. Which short-term lodging services can I use for lodging (in addition to standard hotels)?

Answer: The University has, at this time, determined that only Airbnb can be used for University business without first submitting individual agreements to the Office of the General Counsel (“OGC”) for advance review and approval.  Airbnb uses standard legal terms and conditions that have been vetted by OGC.  Other services permit individual owners to use their own agreements, and this myriad of legal terms and conditions have not been reviewed or approved.  As the sharing economy evolves, the University will continue to evaluate this determination.

2.  Does this mean I can accept Airbnb’s online “click agreement” without OGC’s approval?

Answer: Yes.  In the singular case of Airbnb, you are authorized to accept Airbnb’s “click agreement” without first obtaining OGC’s case-by-case approval.  This guidance is specific to Airbnb only and does not apply to any other click agreements (e.g., for goods, services, software) without OGC’s express written approval.

3.  For what services can I use Airbnb?

Answer: You may contract with Airbnb for lodging and Conferences (see below for Conferences).

You may contract with Airbnb to host Conferences if you first document your terms and conditions review in accordance with existing procedures, including seeking OGC’s legal counsel as appropriate.  Additionally, you must ensure that agreements for Conferences funded by sponsored projects contain the required additional terms and conditions that must be “flowed down” to Conference providers.  For federally-funded sponsored projects, the Uniform Guidance (2 CFR § 200.432) defines “Conferences” as follows:

“A conference is defined as a meeting, retreat, seminar, symposium, workshop or event whose primary purpose is the dissemination of technical information beyond the non-Federal entity and is necessary and reasonable for successful performance under the Federal award. Allowable conference costs paid by the non-Federal entity as a sponsor or host of the conference may include rental of facilities, speakers’ fees, costs of meals and refreshments, local transportation, and other items incidental to such conferences unless further restricted by the terms and conditions of the Federal award. As needed, the costs of identifying, but not providing, locally available dependent-care resources are allowable. Conference hosts/sponsors must exercise discretion and judgment in ensuring that conference costs are appropriate, necessary and managed in a manner that minimizes costs to the Federal award. The Federal awarding agency may authorize exceptions where appropriate for programs including Indian tribes, children, and the elderly.”

4.  Who may I contact for questions about using Airbnb for University business?

Answer: Please contact the Purchasing Department with any questions you may have.  They are available at (208) 426-1283 and

OGC Final 9/19/2019

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