Guest wants to cancel a non refundable reservation

This was a direct booking where we were paid a 50% deposit. Is this forum strictly for Airbnb questions? We are super hosts in Airbnb. This guest booked a full month stay about a year ago. The reservation was non refundable. We wrote the guest a few months ago and said they are welcome to delay their stay since Covid is still very much a thing. We also knew the wife has some morbidity issues and we wanted to be nice and not have them feel pressured. They were thankful for the offer. Now they write to say they would like a full refund. “ I see the situation appears to be worse again in NYC although better than most of the country. We had a curfew in Melbourne for some weeks but it seems to have done very well in bringing back the threat. All projections are rather bad for when things will improve enough to permit travel. Australia has banned all of us from international travel and the authorities here have stated that it is unlikely that travel will be permitted even in 2021 - warning people to make reservations only from 2022 onwards. Accordingly, I wondered if you are able to perhaps consider refunding the deposit we sent you as who knows where we will all be in a year or so?” Would you guys issue a refund? Curious.

@LenoxHillHost, I’m not actively hosting because of Covid, and I have never had non-refundable reservations. I understand that you’ve already received the 50% payment. If would consider some type of refund, I think I’d say that you’ll consider a refund if you get those dates booked and paid for.

And I wouldn’t refund anything until you actually get paid for one or more new stays that cover the dates.

To answer your question about the forum, we’re mostly Airbnb hosts, but a number of participants host directly or on another platform, too. People end up discussing all different situations.

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Yes I would probably refund, keeping an amount back for admin etc. providing that they are asking in reasonably good time.

If the stay was supposed to begin tomorrow, then I’d be a lot tougher. If I have a few days to get more guests, then the refund would be okay.

However, it does show that the fear of squatters isn’t the only reason to limit stays to under 28 days.

Yes, we discuss non-Airbnb issues here - so I wonder why you mentioned that you’re an Airbnb superhost?

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They didn’t send a deposit to you, they sent it to Airbnb, and Airbnb still has it. Have them call Airbnb first to see if they qualify for a refund. Only if Airbnb won’t budge should you consider the refund. Just remember that if you authorize a refund, Airbnb will take it out of any payouts you have between now and this guest’s reservation. You will get then paid the 50% for this guest’s reservation at the normal time (24 hours after check-in).

If you had read the original post, you would have noticed that it was NOT an air rental it was direct.

That said, if I was the OP and the signed rental agreement showed that they had agreed to no refund, I would keep the deposit and tell them that they won’t be charged the other 50%. Since it was private, the OP won’t have to worry about reviews.


She was wanting to know if it was okay to post about a direct booking and I think she was just wanting to assure everyone that she also had a Airbnb listing in case there was some rule about not participating in this forum unless you’re on Airbnb.


I would refund holding some back for admin costs because they asked nicely and they really do now have a ban on travel. Unless it’s really close to their check-in date, in which case I’d tell them you’ll refund if you can fill the dates up to what they paid up front.

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Thanks for all the advise. Much to think about. Just to clarify the situation, the guest had a reservation starting on Nov 10th for a 37 day period. They booked the stay last December. This would have been a return visit. At end of May we agreed to put an indefinite hold on the reservation giving Covid a chance to shake out. They were to pay their balance back in August but did not. They did mention that their travel insurance did not cover pandemics!

Direct booking with me is a 20% non refundable and payment in full the month before. However in your case the no fly issue takes it out of their hands.
I would refund partially and do my best to get the dates rebooked.

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Sorry no refund now.

They paid 1/2 & did not follow through with the second half. They knew they were probably going to cancel and took steps to protect that half.

If you just want to be nice and recognize travel restrictions, offer them a portion of the 1/2 payment received off a future visit.

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Good point about the 28 days. If it was up to me, I would limit stays to 28 days.
However, it is illegal in NYC to rent for a period less than 30 days. NYS has made it impossible for hosts and landlords to protect themselves. On the one hand illegal squatting is an issue once someone has stayed 30 days minimum and on the other hand making it illegal to rent less than 30 days. The other thing they did, if anyone is interested, they have made it illegal to take more than one moth rent deposit and also you are not allowed to collected more than one month in advance. So in the past we would take full payment up front for short term rentals and now we can’t. So the state has made us completely vulnerable to scammers. Add to all this the fact that there is a ban on evictions due to the pandemic!

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I’d hold back 20% for “administrative costs” and tell them you understand the issues, but you also run a business and you’d love to see them when Australians can travel again. Which is a huge issue for those in Oz right now as future travel may require proof of vaccination in order to leave the country. Scary times.

I’m a New Yorker and what I read in the papers makes me sad and furious. The politico grandstanding is killing legit businesses (a dear friend owns a restaurant and he’s had to close) and landlords. The same in CA as my business partner lives in a room in a mansion and one of the tenants is basically blackmailing the landlord into paying the tenant $5,000 to leave - when said tenant is harassing the other roommates and not paying rent. It’s awful. And stupid on the part of the politicians.

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NYC has some strict rules. In my area the rules aren’t as strict but some people are making a bad situation worse.

Example. T is a long term renter of my smaller 2br2ba condo. I adore her. She was laid off due to Covid shutdown. Asked if she had to pay her rent while laid off. Her coworkers were telling her not to pay. I explained I couldn’t evict her but it didn’t mean she would never have to pay. It meant she would need to set up a payment plan or later she could be evicted.

Also the CDC ban on evictions is only if person can’t pay because sick or laid off due to Covid. Again the rent eventually must be paid.

Unfortunately if someone moves out when the protection ends; good luck ever getting paid.

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California law now says that tenants must pay a minimum of 25% of the rent due to Covid but must show proof of inability to pay and can’t be evicted. The courts don’t want to hear landlord/tenant disputes, so that avenue of recourse for landlords is now moot (I sadly know this for a fact…). It’s a mess.

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As I stated back in March I authorized full refunds on my strict cancellation policy before AirBNB implemented their own Covid refund Policy.

But that was over 1 Million worldwide deaths and over 250K US deaths ago when you were saying:

It was also when you said

The reality was he was misleading the public about the severity and contagiousness (Woodward taped interview) and not listening to scientists. The only things he has ever done tirelessly is golf and twitter.

But back to your question today: You don’t have AirBNB to be “livid with” so why are you even questioning your own approach.


People change. Opinions evolve…

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I would keep the non refundable and say that it is a credit toward a future stay, whenever they can travel. I sympathize with the guests. We are in the same situation, having spent major $$$$ for a trip to South Africa, which was partially cancelled when Covid struck. All of the lodges/hotels moved my reservation forward a year. Some said they would give me money back, some would not. And I had TWO travel policies, both of which denied coverage of the additional $5K I had to spend to get back home, and anything else. All that to say, international travel is challenging and your guests would have come had they had a chance. I expect they still want to come back.

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Not sure what OP is - we are still vulnerable to negative Google reviews :frowning:

Keep complete and accurate records. Summarize all conversations and send a copy to the tenant. If she moves when you go to court to evict, make sure you get a judgement for all the back rent plus any other legal costs. You then take that judgement and when she goes back to work, you get a court order to garnish her wages until you’re paid off. You can also get a court order to sweep bank accounts (be sure to record account numbers off any checks she has given you).

Back when I did LTR, I had a tenant that moved out without notice and broke the lease. I won rent until the place was re-rented (4 month vacancy), plus penalties that were in the lease for early termination. I then garnished her wages for 3 years until I got my $7200.

I’m glad it worked out for you. The estimated number of evictions are anticipated to overwhelm the system. We shall see what happens. Fortunately my LTR is working & paying rent.