Guest suddenly leaving

Hi, I have been hosting for many years through airbnb though only have a few guests a year and have mostly had good experiences. One horrid experience and two not so nice. The latest one was not nice.

My guest arrived late Sunday evening. I was expecting a male and the person who arrived was a transwoman. I asked to check ID which I always do now since I had a guest not be the same person that booked. I remarked that she looked very different from her profile and she said it was an old profile from five years ago and that since then she had become a transwoman. I didn’t have a problem with this but was just a little thrown at first because I like to know who to expect when I am hosting.

I asked her what her schedule would be and she said she works for a bank and would be working from home afternoon and evenings and would be at college in the morning. I had asked her before she booked what she would be doing whilst here and she said she was studying English at a local college. IF she had said she would be working from home and probably would not have accepted the booking because I work from home and it doesn’t suit me to have someone work form home every day. But as she had already booked I though I would make it work and I had not specified this in my listing because it’s ok for a few days, and depends on hours etc. so didn’t want it to be a blanket rule. I like to know peoples schedules so that I can work around them (I sometimes record at home and practice (I am a musician).

She was wearing flip flops and a floaty summer dress and a thin jacket and I asked if she was cold wearing flip flops. She said she was not. I’d normally show people how to use the heating but had a sense that she wanted to be left alone so gave her space.

Out of the blue on Tuesday evening, when she was in her room, I got a call from airbnb to say she wanted to cancel her booking because the heating was broken. The heating was on at the time. Airbnb support had emailed me the same earlier in the day but I had missed the email. The heating had been off in the daytime (it’s set to a timer to come on in the morning and evening).

I said the heating was on and not broken and it was strange she had not raised this with me directly. They said it was due to her not speaking English. I said we’d had a few conversations in English and also sent me a lot of messages in English.

Anyway, I told airbnb I would not accept a cancellation because the heating is not broken and that I would try to find a solution with the guest in relation to the heating and that I could turn of the radiators in the rooms for my sole use and she can have the heating on in the rooms she uses I messaged the guest to say I’d show her how to turn on the heating and that I had put the heating on for her so it would be warm when she go back. I also pointed out that there was a thermostat on her radiator (which I checked when she was out because I wanted to check her radiator was working, which it was, and saw it was not turned to full heat). I said because she had been wearing flip flop around the flat s I assumed she was not cold. I also said I could show her how to work the heating herself and said if it is too cold she can turn the heating up using the main thermostat in the hallway.

We had a chat in the kitchen briefly the next day and she told me what her job is and that she is very well known in her country and very successful in her job.

She messaged back a stroppy message that it was a big assumption she was not cold because of her wearing flip flops and also complained that I had asked her what her schedule was and that no host has ever asked her this before. I replied that it is my home, not a hotel and that I work from home and wanted to make sure I did any recording when she is out. She said when she is next in she would ask me to show her how the heating works.

I didn’t see her that evening as she came in late and went straight to her room and I went to bed. The next morning she packed up and left without saying anything. I am concerned that she is going to ask for compensation now for something. I have never had anyone complain about the heating before and I did my best to resolve it.

Any advice would be gratefully received.

Many thanks!

Things to do in the future:

  1. I almost never accept a phone call. I request all messages to be put in writing. That way you have documentation of what they said. I also screen shot the message. I recently had an issue and I worked with 3 different agents and a supervisor and they all gave me conflicting info but it’s in my account’s inbox and screenshots.

  2. I send a check-in message to make sure everything is ok and to ask the guest to let me know if it isn’t. That way it’s documented in writing that I reached out to her. (I sometimes get a reply back from the guest but often I do not.)

  3. What can you do now? Normally, I would put in a message on the guest’s reservation of what you discussed with the agent. You would need to shorten your response to maybe one paragraph so that you have it documented BUT…

  4. There is a good chance that Airbnb will not respect what you have said and take the guest’s word for it. She may even complain that you treated her unfairly because of her being transgender. Airbnb could even escalate this and shut you down.

  5. So, how much money are you getting and is it worth the possible ramifications?

Some other folks might have a different opinion so wait to see what everyone else has to say.

Good luck.

Never assume. Never assume.

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If I have any concern about a guest I usually repeat any message that I have delivered verbally in an Airbnb message. Airbnb is not known for siding with hosts so it may depend on your luck of the draw with an agent should she try anything. She has probably suffered a lot of discrimination so may be defensive, but that won’t matter in a dispute.

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I find it odd that you didn’t show her how to work the heat. Having the sense she wanted to be left alone is not a good reason to skip telling guests what they need to know. You could have messaged her the info. And deciding she didn’t need heat because of how she was dressed is also odd, as is asking her if she wasn’t cold in flipflops when she first arrived. It’s a rather personal question to ask (and not really any of your business) as soon as a guest arrives. I could see it coming up in conversation after the guest is in residence.

Telling Airbnb that you could turn the heating off in the rooms you use I don’t understand at all. Why would you need to do that? To save money? That makes it sound like you were admitting that her room had the heat turned off- it was not a good thing to say to Airbnb.

All that said, she sounds like a scammer or at minimum someone who wasn’t honest (the changing stories about her schedule) and doesn’t understand home sharing.

Not sure what kind of advice you are wanting. All you can do at this point is wait to see if she tries to get a refund and stick to your story that the heat was working. But not showing or explaining to her how to work the heat isn’t in your favor.

As a home share host myself, I understand wanting to know a guest’s basic schedule, if it wouldn’t work out well with yours, but do you mention in your listing what your schedule is and who your listing is suitable and not suitable for? If a host just asked me what my schedule was, rather than making it clear that they worked from home and that guests who also work from home aren’t a good fit for you, I would also find it rather prying.


H Muddy, thanks for your message. The heating was not switched off in her room, the heating was set to a time to come on in the morning and then go off, then come on again around 6ish. I said to airbnb that it would be too warm for me to have the heating on during the day, hence needing to switch my radiator off.

I did send the guest instructions how to turn the heating up and left the heating on all day and evening for her as soon as I was aware she was cold and offered to show her.

I explained to her that I am a musician and producer and record hence needing to know her schedule so I could work around her. I get how someone could experience that as prying and so I will update my profile to explain this.

I was just making conversation in relation to flip flops. Not really that strange as it is March and in the UK no-one would be wearing flip flops and she didn’t seem to mind.

Hi Lynick

Thanks so much for this.

  1. Great advice and I will do this in future.
  2. I do this sometimes and didn’t this time so I will make sure I do it each time in future
  3. Great idea I will do that now.
  4. I am neurodiverse and lying about my home to airbnb feels unfair. I have advised airbnb of this and also guest is aware. Not sure if that will help at all but I do understand about discrimination and bullying. I also had already messaged a nice message to say that I hope she continues to work in Equality and Diversity as it is important (it is to me and I am passionate about it having been discriminated agains and bullied in the past). When I spoke to airbnb I said that I was hoping she might want to stay for six months (as she is in the UK this long) as she seemed like a gentle person so hopefully they have logged this but maybe I should email the agent.

I did email the guest before she left with instructions as to how to turn heating up and how to turn her radiator up (it has a thermostat). I checked the radiator when she said the heating was broken to airbnb and turned the thermostat up to max. I checked it again after she left and it had been turned down so I don;t think this was about the heating. Perhaps she tood a dislking to me, but I have on one of my reviews that I am the loveliest host the guest has met and all my reviews say how nice I am. I am a people pleaser (too much so). I offered my guest to help herself to a roast chicken I had cooked on the first night.

Thanks again for your reply


Hi Christine, I did do this!

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Yes you are right and the heating was on in the morning and all evening, just not in the day

Ps I also explained to her that I have had issues with people being very noisy on zoom and as I record I need to know, but said that she is quiet so that is not an issue. More that I didn’t want to disturb her.

I really don’t understand this. If I booked a place where the host limited the heat to only certain hours of the day, and turned it off completely during the night, I would not be pleased at all and would likely leave and ask for a refund if the host wasn’t amenable to me using the heating in a manner that made me comfortable.


This is more common than we realize. Chicago. Summer. Southwest facing room. Very nice hotel. Conference. Fully booked. I was roomed on an upper floor.

Morning a/c worked as expected. Room temp 72F
While I was out, I left curtains drawn to keep out sun & heat. The windows do not open.

Evening a/c worked as expected to 10pm. I woke up 2am roasting like a dry sauna. Called desk. “The evenings are cool here. You don’t need a/c at night. You can set the environmental control fan to high.”

Heat rises so I asked for a lower room. Nothing available. I hated that place. Actually I still do.

Over $450/night for a small single room with only king bed & no-a/c at night. F-that.


Similar experience in a Marriott in Jordan doing the tourist thing in Petra.
Room faced west!
The aircon control was fake, no matter what you did - nothing changed the actual temperature or fan speed.
Went down to the front desk and berated them until they admitted that they controlled everything from the front desk.
Went and got the tour guide and berated him about this 5 star accommodation at the front desk until the ,staff altered the room temperature and sent maintenance to reconnect the room control.


It would be too hot to leave the heating on at night…and she did not request the heating being on at night. You have not read my reply properly. After she complained I explained how to use the heating and turn it up to her convenience. I don;t think you would find anyone in the UK who leaves their heating on at night in March. Also haven’t you heard of climate change?

you are misunderstanding…it is usual to have heating on a timer in your own home…no-one has heating on 24/7 and she had permission and instructions to use as she wished and after she left I saw that she had turned her radiator thermostat down so clearly heating was not the issue

It is never usual in my part of the world to have a timer - we have THERMOSTATS to make sure the temperature is constant. I can’t think of anyone who would be ok to show up only on certain hours of the day for comfort.

I am reminded of the occasional posters here who are incredulous that guests ask them for more heat during their stay, telling us that they never raise the temp in their homes past 62 and expect guests to wear sweaters and jackets just like they do. Or say that 78 is just fine and that somehow lowering the temp for their guests would put them in the poorhouse. Reminder: this is a HOSPITALITY business…


I don’t know about all heating/cooling systems.

I’m familiar with thermostat controlled heating systems meaning the system is on 24/7, when the desired temperature is achieved, the system cycles off then back on after a significant temperature change. Commercial buildings may layer in the system is only active during specific hours.

Are you saying your heat isn’t thermostat controlled? But only active during specific hours?

This isa VERY NORMAL in the UK…everyone does it.

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You maybe didn’t understand my messages. Her radiator has a thermostat and also the heating has a thermostat and the guest was made aware how to control it…you seem to missing that point entirely. But it is also common practice in the UK to have heating off at night and on a timer.

If you are a moderator please read the posts properly. How many more times do I need to write that the guest was given instructions how to control the heating in the rooms she uses. It is totally up to me to choose if I have the heating off in the rooms for my sole use. Yours, exasperated.