Guest snowed in

I have an unusual situation in which a guest scheduled to stay in a room in my home for one evening which was last night. However we have like a two-day snowstorm happening and I’ve been shoveling to keep up but the car that they rented ( they are from California and I am in Minnesota) won’t move in the snow. Last night he went out and got some food and some neighbors happened to see him stuck in a different intersection from mine and pushed him so he could get back. But St Paul has not done any street maintenance and the snow keeps coming. He is supposed to check out by noon and has another travel plan to go to. But he might not be able to move his car even if I managed to shove him into the street. Because none of the streets are plowed. I will offer to extend his stay for another day until the streets are plowed but he seems to want to leave which is fine. What are the options here? This is an unusual situation for me. If the guest leaves in that car, he will be stuck in the street.

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I know you are done with Airbnb so I assume this was a direct booking? I’m unclear on the question about options. If he stays he pays, if he doesn’t, not your problem.


If he leaves it’s not your problem. He would need to call someone to get his car unstuck or to the next location.


I was having an extremely bad day when I made that post. I regret most of what I said in that post. I’m still doing Airbnb. I just feel really awkward about this because they’re stuck. They are welcome to stay another night because the only way they are getting out is with a tow truck. There’s just so much snow.

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This is an opportunity to really jack up your price for that next day rental!

Of course I am kidding.

It seems to me you’ve done the reasonable thing in offering to extend the rental presumably at the normal rate.

This is the guest’s problem to solve. The guest might have friends, family or business associates in the area that the guest could call upon.

If I were the guest I might ask you if you’d be willing to drive my rental car back to the rental place when the streets are easily travelled, and if so, what you would charge for that. If I as the guest did that I would notify the rental company so that they don’t report the car stolen with possible ‘inconvenient’ results for you.

If you were open to this arrangement I’d ask that it be written (with exact drop-off instructions – you don’t want find the rental location closed and unable to drop off; with a statement that he has reported to the rental agency where the car is and that it is not stolen and will be returned when the streets are easily passed) and that the fee be paid upfront. It’s important that you have absolute discretion to drive the vehicle only when you think it is safe and convenient to do so. It’s in the guest’s interest that it be returned as soon as possible but you might not want to drive in whether that’s possible but problematic. The guest should also agree to reimburse you for all and any costs whatsoever that you incur in the trip to/from the rental drop-off place (I’m thinking towing but maybe something else is possible). I would build into the fee the estimated tipped cost for Uber/Lyft.

If I were you I would not offer this possibility (if it is one for you) but wait to see what the guest does/asks. One possibility is that the guest notify the rental company of the location, where it can get the keys and ask that the company retrieve the vehicle. Obviously the rental company will charge something for that if it is willing to do so.

If the guest asks your advice I would suggest that the guest contact the rental company and get their advice.


He’s an adult. You have given him an intelligent option. You might give him the number of a tow company with the warning that he’ll probably need it. My old boyfriend once insisted on driving across a muddy field where, as I warned, he got stuck. I called the tow truck to come as soon as he started across but told them to wait ten minutes (the locals are fast!) so that it was arriving just when he gave up on rocking it out himself, lol.


Call me overly conservative but I wouldn’t do that.

The guest can easily find the names of a towing company. I wouldn’t want to give the guest a name and find out that there was a much less expensive one, or that the one I happened to give the guest had a bad reputation.

But I agree with what you say, that he’s an adult. He can figure this out and likely has other resources.

It just occurs to me that the rental company might provide roadside assistance. He might call that number for help/guidance as well as the rental company itself.


Seems like a problem that has nothing to do with a host. Who rents a car that can’t handle snow to drive in Minnesota in January? Did he think the weather would be balmy?
If he needs to spend another night, I suppose I might give him a bit of a sympathy discount, but not stay for free, and if he chooses to leave, it’s up to him to figure out. Let him pay for a tow truck to take him to the interstate if that’s what he wants. Or he can call the rental agency and work it out with them.


If he stays just make a change through the website or a request for money and block the day he stays. As a Minnesotan you can advise him not to try driving but I wouldn’t go farther than that. You also don’t owe him a free day but if you want to do it because you feel your costs aren’t substantially higher having him there another day that’s your business. But if anything goes wrong, it’s on you, not Airbnb who you know not to expect help from.

Oh, for Pete’s sake. Giving someone the phone number of a business isn’t an endorsement of their service unless it’s accompanied by a “These guys are really great, I recommend them”.

If a host has a guidebook with a list of local restaurants that have take-out delivery, is the host responsible if the pizza arrives cold, doesn’t taste good, or the guest finds out a different restaurant has less expensive pizza?


I wouldn’t do it.

This all might be moot now but I was thinking about my response and the possibility that the guest might ask you to drive the car back when the weather clears.

It occurs to me that in that situation you would not be an authorized driver of the vehicle per typical contract terms at rental companies.

So, even if you wanted to do that as a favor (no fee or payment beyond the Lyft/Uber fee) your driving the car back if an accident were to occur might give rise to an unexpected liability.


That’s not an option. Only the people registered to drive the rental car can drive it. That would be a huge liability for you.

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Yes, our posts crossed. Please see above. [Although I don’t know if it’s accurate to say that it’s not an option. The guest would not have insurance coverage under the rental contract. Beyond that it’s complicated. But I agree it’s not advisable.]

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It’s not your fault that he’s snowed in. If you wish to do a good deed, don’t charge him for the extra day. Otherwise, there’s really not much you can do.


Just offer the extra night at your standard rate.

As he has indicated he doesn’t want want to stay just confirm standard check out time.

It’s not your fault he decided to hire a car without proper facilities to work in the snow .

If he can’t get out he can book a hotel.


Give him a list of tow truck businesses - he can choose- but can’t he look therm up
online ?

He should notify his insurance company, that’s why rentals make sure you have it.

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I agree. I wouldn’t provide the list as he can look them up online. Maybe even more to the point he might have roadside assistance with the rental company. So, as others have said, he is an adult, knows his situation better than any of us or the OP. He can figure it out.

@lauras0323 , So, whatever happened here?

Good point, I didn’t think it through,