How much refund for a guest without heat?

Guest notified at 10AM. Heat was fixed by 12PM the next day. 26 hours later (techs backed up because first cold spell and no one’s heaters worked when turned on for first time). They had 4 space heaters (4 bedroom house; living room, family room, dining room…so would have to move space heaters depending on where they were). Temps were in 40s. House would have been around 60 degrees without space heaters and maybe 65 degrees with space heaters based on our experience living there. There was one time when we lived there, even two below 30 degree nights only brought the house down to 50 degrees (and the nights prior to the heat going out that time had been cold unlike this past weekend where Thursday was 70 degrees and it flipped to 45 degrees by Friday night).

Rent was $420 per night.

How much should I refund?

I originally offered a late check-out up to 7PM (worth $210) or an additional night ($420). Availed themselves of 1.5 hours (or $45 pro-rated) of late check-out. Demanded one night’s refund the next day after they were home (were busy vacating the morning prior).


So that’s about 16 degrees C, 3 or 4 degrees under what it should be. When you’re in bed it doesn’t matter, so that’s just one daytime to worry about. I would go on the cost of a dinner out and a day trip to a museum, since this would be a good solution.
It’s not exactly Siberia so no big wow.

Refund for the entire stay? Absolutely not. One free day because it was unpleasant…okay. An entire free stay…no. These people probably eat the whole steak then complain it was overcooked.

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Oops! Their request was for an entire night (one of three nights). I just edited to say that!

You really think that they deserve an entire night even though they had space heaters?

Where are they from? I’d be perfectly fine with 60-65. It’s where I set the heat when I’m alone in the house.

But someone from the tropics would be miserable in that range.

Just trying to determine if they were truly uncomfortable or saw an opportunity to score a discount.


But you said earlier you offered them a free night, which is the same as you rebating one night, so not sure what the issue is?

Personally I wouldn’t have offered this in the first place.Having done so, you haven’t left yourself a lot of wriggle room, unless you made it crystal clear, that it was an either/or offer.

I agree a voucher towards a meal/flowers/chocolates/wine or similar would have been what I gave them.

They don’t need $420 for it being a bit colder than it should have been.

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I wouldn’t use the word deserve. What I meant is that I don’t think a one night refund is a crazy demand. But they apparently wanted to take the late check out and the night’s refund and be able to stay at your place.

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Offering them a late check out or a free night does not cost me anything.

Once actual cash is requested, everything changes. The amount of a cash refund must be calculated along with the value of the offer they did use (1.5 hours of late check out).

I made an offer of a late check out OR additional night. I never offered cash. They want cash.

So, now I have to decide how much more cash to give them considering they used $45 (1.5 hours of late check out I offered).

I am loving these answers! Thanks for helping out!

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Profile does not say. Some local. some from father out. Didn’t seem like a tropical family.

I doesn’t matter where they are from. Jaquo is from England and is cold at 75F. Providing space heaters made it possible to stay there instead of being forced to check out. But in hindsight it seems it would have been best to say "sorry about the heat, I’ll give a full refund for remaining nights and cancel your stay.

I personally don’t respond well to demands.
I think you have already made amends with the late check-out and space heaters.

I would politely decline their demand and wait out the review period to see what they do, then review them right before the review period ends.

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We’ll have to agree to disagree on this one.

In financial terms whether you refund one night or give one night away for free in the future, this is still a cost, the same cost to you.

In your situation as you made it clear it was either a late check out or one night free, the simplest thing to do is to deduct the 1.5 hours from the 7 hour late check out you offered and offer them the balance.



So, I usually say NO refund for just about anything but I do think in this case they should get one night free. Heat is one of the amenities you provide (not space heaters) and I really think that Airbnb would refund the guest possibly for the whole stay.


K9KarmaCasa, not sure I am following here. Earlier you said refund one night (that night) was acceptable, but it sounds like here, you were suggesting I should have offered to release them at that point and give them a refund for remainder of stay?

I was notified of heat issue on the last morning at 10AM, 25 hours prior to check-out. So, only the one remaining night.

Although it took the guy a whole 10 minutes to fix the furnace upon arrival (it was a loose wire), it could have taken days/weeks to fix. I simply did not know in that moment. Granted, these people had but one night left, but they could have had more nights left.

So, plan for future…
My immediate response any time a system is down is to offer 1) cancellation from that point forward (with refund); OR, 2) offer them option of staying with say, 1/3 discount? That way they have an option and know what lies ahead. In fact, I will include this in my house rules just to be safe. It caps expectations and my liability.

I did have to make a decision, and I will tell you what I ultimately did do with these people…but I am awaiting more responses and suggestions (don’t want to bias)!!

I don’t think they would do this just for one night only a few degrees under par. It’s not like it’s freezing.

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two separate issues…

whether I should give them cash and how much is one issue (still awaiting responses). your suggestion is a reasonable amount, I think.

a free night or late check out does not cost me anything at all, in cash or opportunity cost since the next night was not rent-able (I had someone coming in right after).

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I would say offer them nothing more. You already offered them a solution of possible credits. If they didn’t agree with that offer, they should have told you immediately that was an unacceptable solution, and you could have negotiated something else.

I recently had an unexpected water shutoff while a guest was staying. According to AirBnB, because I notified them of the shutoff as soon as I found out and they agreed to stay anyway, I was under no obligation to offer them anything, as far a refund. I did give them a small refund for the inconvenience, equaling the percentage of their stay that they were without water (even though they were sleeping or out for the majority of that time, and I did supply them with plenty of bottled water to drink or wash with.)

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Unfortunately you didn’t clarify in your earlier posts that your offer of a free night was only for the following night which wasn’t rentable. You just stated you offered the guest ‘a free nght’. :slight_smile:

If you had - I wouldn’t queried it !!!

Water shut off is definitely something beyond your control…whereas the furnace is [sort of] in my control because I own it. They told me that they would be checking out late at 12PMish, but could not do the extra day on the day of check out. On the day of check out, she also did say that she wanted to talk to me the next day (presumably about a refund) when she was off from work.

BTW, my usual late check out policy is that it is half of the previous night regardless of what time you check out up to 7PM, so one minute late or 8 hours late is the same (to take it to the extreme). I billed them only 1.5 hours worth.

How much was your small refund? My heat was out 26 hours…so if I were offering them a refund for 26 hours, that would be $420!!!

Playing devil’s advocate here!


Should I ever make such an offer again, I will make sure to clarify late check out or an additional free night on the end!

I didn’t even think about them coming back at some other time! That would be a disaster!!!