Hosts with compromised health during Covid19

Hello, fellow hosts. We have been superhosts from the start. We love providing a beautiful and sparkling clean space for guests. We have consistently been at the very top of our city’s listings, although in our adjacent larger city’s (Minneapolis), we are buried. Like everyone, we have lost considerable income we have relied on (though not entirely) because of cancellations, but also because we blocked all open dates, now, into mid-April, when we have guests due to arrive.

Our problem first and foremost, however, is this: We are 66 and 72. My husband has a chronic lung infection, cancer 4 years ago, and had pneumonia post-surgery last November. I have asthma. We also have a grand baby due in 3 weeks, via a necessary cesarean, and I am going to be taking care of the baby’s six-year-old sister, who has been hospitalized with asthma three times already. Her father uses an inhaler daily. We all have been self-isolating for two weeks now, working from home. We know we cannot accept new guests until we can see that this pandemic has been seriously tamed, and we are also not sure how to approach April’s remaining guests, whom we now know it is not safe for us to host. Our listing is a suite in our home, and although there is a back door leading to the suite, it passes through a tiny hall we have to use, and we are the sole cleaners. Our washer and dryer are in the suite. One April guest is planning on visiting Mall of America (it’s been closed for a week, now) and the other states she is coming for medical treatment. And then there are the May guests. Our city was issued a two week stay at home order, effective at midnight last night, which is expected to be extended. All bars and restaurants have been open for carryout only for the last week. Museums and even hiking trails are closed and elective surgeries have been cancelled. You thoughts, please on these subjects: 1.) Should we contact the guests and invite them to cancel based on the situation here? What if they refuse? We have a moderate cancellation policy, but right now they would lose all the extra fees. 2.) Should we wait and see whether Airbnb extends the extenuating circumstances policy? (I fully appreciate that this has severely impacted hosts, us included.) I feel that the guests will need an early notice if we are not in a place to host, which we are not, but Airbnb has to date made no mention of not penalizing hosts who need to self-isolate for the duration. 3.) Should we call and ask Airbnb directly what the consequences will be if we cancel the guests ourselves and block through May? At this time, I imagine they have hired extra help and we’ve previously run into inexperienced agents who have given us bad advice that impacted our listing.

I apologize for the long post. Thanks for your thoughts.

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I had a similar situation with a guest who was scheduled to arrive in April (after the current AirBNB calendar window). I reached out to her and advised that I’d be willing to bypass the strict cancellation policy, should she be concerned about traveling (She is in Scotland). She responded that she was about to reach out to me to inquire about cancelling. So with she and I in agreeement I contacted the helpdesk and they were able to refund all the fees. CS was very accommodating and understanding.

So I suggest you reach out to your guest first, explain your situation, and ideally get their concurrence. I think any reasonable person would understand and appreciate you reaching out so early. I think touching base with your guest first will make it more personal than just getting a cancellation notice, and if they are reasonable they will ideally remember you for when they make the trip in the future.

If they don’t agree, then contact AirBNB and use one of your three “get out of jail” cancellation tickets.

Good Luck, Stay Healthy, and CONGRATULATIONS on the new grandchild.


Yes, ask guests to cancel, through the Airbnb platform. If they don’t, then cancel.

The consequences from Airbnb, if there are any, are meaningless when your and your family’s health is so seriously at stake.

Then block your entire future calendar until you know it’s safe to unblock.


Blocking your dates off over the next few months is a good idea.

I believe under the EC policy for the virus you can cancel bookings outside of the time frame if if you have a health condition which makes you vulnerable.

Congratulations on your new grandchild @Meg1


@Meg1 There is an option that guests can choose, but I don’t know where and at what point it appears on their end. They can click on something that sends the host a message saying they want to cancel under the COVID policy, and asking you to approve it, then they will get a full refund, including the service fees, supposedly. Just ask your guests to click on cancel, and I think this will pop up on their end.

I agree with everyone else. Tell the guests to cancel and if they don’t then you call Airbnb to cancel penalty free. Then I’d block off my calendar through the summer. If by some miracle there is a rapid improvement for the better then you can open up later.


This is where we will likely have to go, because here is what Airbnb says about hosts cancelling. (It looks to me like their extenuating circumstances policy states it does not include coronavirus situation a part of the policy.)

It would be a pity, because we have been many guests first experience of airbnb, and we bent over backwards to make it stellar, reflected in our reviews.

Consequences for hosts cancelling during covid19, from the site:

Because cancellations disrupt guests’ plans and impact confidence in the Airbnb community, the following penalties are applied for host cancellations.

## Cancellation fee

A fee will be deducted from your first payout after a cancellation. The amount deducted will depend on when you accepted the reservation and how soon before check-in you cancelled it:

*** More than 7 days before check-in, we’ll deduct $50 (£38) from your next payout **
*** Less than 7 days before check-in, we’ll deduct $100 (£77) from your next payout**

The cancellation fee may be waived if you have completed at least 10 consecutive bookings without cancelling, either since you started hosting or since your last previous cancellation.

## Unavailable/blocked calendar

Your calendar will stay blocked, and you won’t be able to accept another reservation for the same dates of the cancelled reservation.

## Automated review

If you cancel before the day of check-in, an automated review will be posted to your listing’s profile indicating that you cancelled one of your reservations. These reviews can’t be removed, but you can always write a public response to clarify why you needed to cancel.

## Guest review

If you cancel on the day of check-in or later, guests can choose to leave a public review on your listing’s profile.

## Account suspension

If you cancel 3 or more reservations within a year, we may deactivate your listing.

Unless there are extenuating circumstances, there will be no exceptions to our cancellation policy.

## Superhost status

**To keep your Superhost status, you must continue to meet the Superhost requirementsduring each assessment period, which includes maintaining a 1% percent cancellation rate. **

## Exceptions for Instant Book reservations

You can cancel Instant Book reservations penalty-free under certain circumstances. Learn more.

I’m almost certain that you aren’t looking at the most current policy. Please call them and cancel these reservations.


You are looking at the standard cancellation policy not the EC cancellation policy for the Corona virus @Meg1

3Howdy, I am still on lock down here and for another 9 days. I still don’t know for sure if I have it, but better safe than sorry. I have blocked everything for 3 months out, the extent to which I offer accommodation. And I will keep on adding as time goes on, as required.

Debating as to whether or not to use gloves putting away dishes!

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When I click on your link, Helsi, this is what I find in the policy:

“Reservations for stays and Airbnb Experiences made on or before 14 March 2020, with a check-in date after 14 April 2020, are not currently covered for COVID-19-related extenuating circumstances. The host’s cancellation policy will apply as usual.”

The reservations I’m concerned about start after April 14th and include stays in April, May, June, July. They were all made prior to March 14, and in fact, prior to the outbreak in the U.S. I found this info on the site this afternoon.

Thank you, HH_AZ!! We are excited about the baby, and hoping for the best!
We will be contacting the guests and explaining our situation, and hoping for the best in this case, too. We have many times called CS to ask for a full refund for a guest, due to snowstorms, etc. I wish I could wave a magic wand and have our need as easily met. We are not asking for anything except no penalties. We are going to block all of April and May and go from there. I will try and talk with Airbnb if any of the guests refuse to book elsewhere, see if they will afford us the same respect we’ve given to guests. It would cost them nothing, so hopefully…

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Right the section I am referring to is this

If your reservation was booked before 10 March 2020, with a check-in date before 1 June 2020, or booked between 10 March and 1 June 2020, you may be able to request a cancellation directly from your host and get a full refund.

Why don’t you contact your guests explain your personal circumstances and ask if they will exercise this option when they go to cancel due to the corona virus to ask for a cancellation with full refund.

Win win on both sides.

I wish it were so. Some pretty thorough research into the newest policy shows that guests can ask for a refund outside of the March 14 - April 14 window, but hosts cannot. (See my recent response to Helsi. Hopefully there is something I am not understanding correctly, but the quote from the site seems clear.) I will call the guests and ask to have them cancel, and if they won’t, we will have to. I’ll call Host Customer Service, too. We’re going to cancel and block all of April and May, and go from there.

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Thanks, yes, that’s the plan.

Thanks for the congrats!

Thanks, all for your congrats on the baby and your input and concern. I’ll let you know how this shakes out. Surely we are not the only hosts in this situation. It’s ironically opposite of many hosts wanting the reservations to keep coming in. Thinking of you all and wishing the best for all of you and your loved ones during this crazy time.

Many selfish people are putting us all in danger. I despair.

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I know. Do they just not get/believe what they’re hearing about projections? I’m also dismayed that Airbnb is suggesting hosts open their homes to people on the front lines (noble, in one sense) without realizing the high rate of possibility of infection following guests might incur, as, tragically, stats are showing that health care workers are becoming infected in significant numbers, particularly since we don’t have sufficient protections for them. I agree, they need a place to stay when commuting is an added burden, or for various other reasons. If anything, allow for a place for front line heroes to stay, but don’t keep the turnover happening with the general public, at least until we understand, with some certainty, this virus. There’s a reason we’re being told to stay home in increasingly large numbers. The reason is science and statistics based on the virus’s behavior so far.

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I think that’s it.

I’m a retired teacher and we always knew that for effective teaching doing was the best. In other words just telling students something or having them read it was common but not that effective. If you have them read then repeat or teach it, better. If you could also add a project where they applied or used it that was best. So we are telling people what they need to know or do but that’s going to be limited. Once everyone knows someone with it personally and knows someone who died, then they will do what is necessary. The alternative of course is for the government to force people under threat of punishment to do the right thing. But our (US) government has another agenda.

It’s difficult, but the way humans have always been.

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