Cancelation due to death in the family

Dear Fellow Hosts,
I’m frustrated and I just need to vent.
I have strict cancellation and about a week ago a guest canceled a 2-week booking.
The guest didn’t contact me until several days later when the guest realized that he would not be getting back the full amount paid. He wrote me a message asking me to refund the full amount because the trip had been canceled because of a death in the family. Subsequently, Airbnb contacted me urging me to agree to refund the full amount.
I wrote back to Airbnb and asked if the guest had provided a death certificate. Days later I heard back from the Airbnb “ambassador” letting me know that the ambassador working with the guest asked the guest to submit a copy of the death certificate but that the guest did not reply. Days later I received a message from the ambassador informing me that the case was being closed.
Don’t you think that Airbnb crosses the line when asking hosts to waive their cancelation policies to benefit guests? To make matters worse, I have been a Superhost quarter after quarter for years; Airbnb has taken away my Superhost status because of a single cancellation.
Airbnb’s lack of commitment to hosts/ best interests is disheartening and frustrating.

My credit card has travel insurance included.
I always wonder about the cards used by guests, or if they realised that this added benefit may be available to them.
I think it is completely unfair that the host becomes the insurance


They took away your Superhost status because the guest cancelled?

@muddy, No, I lost my Superhost status for my first cancellation ever unrelated to the guest who canceled supposedly due to a death in the family.

I bet they didn’t mention that they would take the refund out of any payouts that you might receive between the time you agree and the original payout date of the cancelled reservation.

It’s not clear to me whether the guest got the refund.

Since the guest did not provide the death certificate, I would assume that there was no death in the family. I hope you didn’t get scammed.

Airbnb is certainly guest friendly and they know guests can move to another platform more easily than hosts. That’s why any guest who mentions the r-word, gets a negative review from me.

I hope you take care of this guest in the review.

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Were you not aware that you lose Superhost status for more than 1% cancellation rate?

No I don’t think Airbnb crosses the line. @MissMiami they will always pass on the guest ask.

I’ve had this before and just reply . …

The guest should take out travel insurance. However if Airbnb wants to pay to cover the guests costs as a multi billion corporation they are free to do so.

I’m a small business owner and can’t afford to subsidise the guests decision not to take out travel cover.


I think that was very smart of you. It is unreasonable for you to pay the different without documentation. Airbnb would never pay for damages to your home without proof.


I’m not commenting on this cancellation’s validity.

If it is the guest’s claim is real, this case could be reopened. Depending on where you are it can take up to 2 months to get a death certificate.

In my area, The norm used to be 3-7 days. Since 2020 the time has gotten longer & longer. Now the family is fortunate to receive one within 30 days.

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Sadly, this happens all the time.

Sorry, but either deal with it for 3 months or keep on them about it. YOU didn’t cancel the guest so ABB violated THEIR TOS in taking SH away.

Go after them on Twitter.

Preach it. We all feel that.

How about an obituary notice naming the guest as a decedant?

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Yes, she did cancel a guest, not the one she’s talking about here. She said that upthread.

Yes, but not this guest and she needs to find out if either cancelation got her to 1%.

She needs to talk to ABB up-chain.

Depends on what you mean

Newspaper obituary or funeral home web announcement happens fairly quickly. The funeral home web notice is usually close to the date of the service which can be postponed.

The 30 day public notice of death so any financially interested parties can come forward, occurs only after death certificate in hand.

Helsi’s response is the correct one, but it should’ve never got that far. Airbnb removed death-in-the-family from their extenuating circumstances policy. Airbnb’s policy is not to refund, so by passing the decision to the host, they’re making the host the ‘bad guy.’ The host shouldn’t have to make the decision, nor should the host even be allowed to make the decision.

Yes, Airbnb is crossing the line. The line they drew themselves when they published their policies.


To be perfectly frank, if I had a bereavement in the family, getting a refund for a previously booked STR would would be very low on my priority list.

Just saying like…



Yes- I had a guest who wasn’t answering my messages a week before her check-in (she had booked about a month before). She was overseas, so I couldn’t phone or text her (didn’t have Whatsapp then). I asked Airbnb to try to contact her and it took 3 days- they said she wasn’t responding to them, either.

Finally I got a message from her. She apologized profusely, said a close family member had died and she hadn’t even been checking her phone or messages- her Airbnb bookings were far from her mind and that she was going to have to cancel her booking with me and others she had booked with for her trip. For which she also apologized.

She never asked for a refund or even hinted at it.


One other point: Depending on the jurisdiction, it could take weeks to get a death certificate. And not everyone everywhere can order a death certificate. If my aunt died, I wouldn’t be able to get a death certificate, as I’m not the next of kin.

I realize that family death is now excluded by Airbnb from its EC policy. It’s important to realize that—even if it were still part of EC—lots of people wouldn’t be able to provide a death certificate in a timely manner, if at all.

When did this happen? I guess I was scammed by a guest who claimed a refund due to a death in the family last year in May. I said no refunds but she went to Airbnb and they said her case qualifies for EC. I might have to go open that case again.

But that’s exactly what they keep doing, and we have to waste our time responding to scammers.

They keep sending some garbage message that I should provide refund in the spirit of Airbnb.

Your Guest reached us out for this reservation and would like to ask for a possible refund due to they will not be able to make to their trip. We do understand that it is your right to uphold your cancellation policy, but in the spirit of Airbnb we would really appreciate it if you take the time to reconsider your decision.