"First responder" using status for cheap vacation - Hours on hold

So the details on the FIRST Responder program are fairly clear, it is supposed to be for those who are actively responding with or dealing with the Covid Crisis, and AirBNB is supposed to “vet” the cases. I have a location in South Lake Tahoe that recently re-opened to regular tourism traffic. Prior to that I had left my home open to First responders only and hosted 2 folks working at the local hospital in service of the pandemic at 75% off regular rates. However, I just had some prime vacation nights booked by a first responder who after booking revealed they were on vacation. In addition to the steep discount (I’m grateful, but 75% is a huge “thank you” gift) it also blocked off the following 3 nights because first responders are “high risk” if they are working, and as such AirBNB is mandating an extra 3 days of empty house before their stay. All told I’ll lose around $2,000 in rent as there is lots of pent up demand for those days.

What’s fair here?

A) I’ll sell you a paragraph

B) I’ll sell you a point


I totally get that it’s frustrating, and you feel conned because you were conned (indirectly through Airbnb). However, you were willing to rent it out for that price and with those conditions, so you didn’t lose any more than you already agreed to lose.

If the guest revealed through Airbnb messaging that they are on vacation, then hopefully you can have Airbnb cancel the reservation as a violation of the terms of the program.


And stay off the lawn!!!

Perhaps a stronger pair of reading glasses? :wink:


You are justified in cancelling if you want to - this person is taking advantage and that was not the deal.


The conditions were that the guest was a first responder. They lied. I don’t think this is a valid contract if one party enter into it in bad faith. They may have thought it was okay, but the rules for the First program are clear.


I don’t think this is true. It sounds like OP (and anyone else who opted-in to the first responder thing) was willing to rent for lower prices for completely different conditions - housing first responders so that they could work.


Take the cleaning test to free up those 3 days. It’s an open book test and only 10 questions. The link should be on your dashboard.

I’m not saying the contract and conditions are valid, but the fact remains that the host was willing to rent it for that price and with the 3-day prep time. If the guest would’ve been legitimately eligible for the rental, then the host would still have the same amount of money in hand at the end of the rental period, the only difference being the feeling that you helped somebody. When you look at it now, would that feeling be worth $2000?

I’m also not saying it’s OK for the guest to do this, or that @BadPirate shouldn’t be mad about it. He should be mad and he should do his best to get the reservation cancelled without penalty. Heck, if I couldn’t get it cancelled without penalty, I’d be inclined to offer the listing on another platform and if I got a booking, accept it, then cancel this Airbnb scammer’s reservation the day before check-in.

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Are the rules different for the first responder program?

You opened up your listing for first responders for Covid19. I assume you know this guest is holidaying because he told you.

In your situation I would confirm to the guest that the discount is for first responders who need to travel so they can work - as this is not the purpose of his booking the listing will be available at your standard rate or Airbnb can cancel? @BadPirate


My current reading glasses are very strong, they have survived being sat on, dropped and generally abused :wink:

Blocks of text, without any form of break are difficult to read by most folks, especially if viewing on a mobile device. It’s a usability issue, not my dodgy old eyes, and makes me grumpy. :stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes:


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They are, there is a non-optional 72 hours closure.

AirBNB agreed. I offered the guest a regular stay at 50% discount and sounds like they may take it.

One thing I hate is that I’ve always been bit by doing nice things like this, I was in full power to fully cancel the reservation (dick move), but now I take a loss of income, as well as likely a bad review because 50% off != 75%. Despite a 50% discount for “Having a husband who works as a nurse” is a pretty rocking deal, they’ll still be like “1 star value”. Ugh.


There have been several stories about guests taking advantage of Airbnb’s Open Homes program, too.

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AirBNB actually told the guest they’d have to pay to cancel. At this point if they do rebook they’ll be pissed at AirBNB and likely take it out on me. Fortunately, sounds like they are pissed enough at AirBNB to not rebook, and so I won’t have to fall on that grenade. Ughh.

Yes they do not vet at all. Im a nurse and I know perfectly well what the program is for. I would never use it for 75 percent off.

I had a friend who evacuated from a hurricane. She had plenty of friends and family with large homes- and she was staying comfortably with them.

She jumped on the free housing bandwagon and stayed free at a beachfront condo for her “vacation.” Now this is an area she travels to every few months to see family.

I would cancel the reservation. Just say if they use it for a vacation it will prevent someone who truly needs it to quarantine away from family as they are a first responder, it won’t be available to them.

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Don’t ever do anything that will make you feel resentful. Not healthy and you are a business. You are already doing a noble thing helping your community. Don’t let them take advantage.

Well you are just wrong here @Brian_R170. The host was only willing to rent it out IF the guest is a first responder acting as a first responder - not as a first responder on a holiday. So it’s not correct that the host didn’t lose more than he agreed to lose.


You should be able to block them.