My Guest wants to leave early - how to handle and refund (For Osaka, Japan)

Dear Hosts,

This is my first port. I haven’t had any major issues as a host for years so I was hoping others may be able to give me. I have read through other similar posts but nothing is specific to my situation.

2 Korean students are already in Osaka and staying at another place but say its too noisy as it is next to the road. 1 guy contacts me on Airbnb and is interested in the house. We agree to have them come look at the house before they decide to book. They come to see the house in person and say yes. Guest books for several months so its blocked on the calendar. Him and his friend are staying. Main guy books but problem with credit card. The second guest makes an account and books for 3 days and we adjust the cash amount to the full amount of the stay as they want to move in immediately after viewing and while still at the house. One more reason for this is that there are several other inquiries during the period they want to stay that overlaps and I have been holding off those requests.

They move in soon from the previous property and everything seems fine. I am curious and send them a follow up message in which they claim a few problems like they would like more curtains, the door seems to be loose and hard to close. I have a co-host go on site the take a look and assume the problem is solved as they did not contact me afterwards.

Fast forward 1 week I message them again and ask them if everything was ok. They say the door lock is broken and the door doesn’t lock properly. Just to add that neighborhood is a very safe area and it is in an alley with 4 houses who all watch each other’s stuff and no one would come in for sure. None of our previous guests have ever complained about that situation and we have no proof if they broke the lock accidentally or the lock was always broken. So we tried a few things and want to call a locksmith to check it out. That would involve making an appointment and having someone to be there, either themselves or my co-host with the key.

They suddenly send a message out of the blue and say they want to cancel and want a partial refund. They feel unsafe with the unlockable door(The door locks but if you used enough power you can open it with out a key) and ‘lack of heat’(it is still over 25 degrees here in Japan) and we have 3 space heaters in the house for them to use and many extra blankets and heated floors on 1 of the floors so not sure why they raised that issue up.

I say that based on the current situation(and I may be wrong) but Airbnb has no more authority over the issue as our cancellation policy is moderate(full refund a week before arrival). In addition the money has already been transferred in full and it is a closed deal. I am not unwilling to refund partial amounts but I haven’t had this experience before and not sure what the exact policy is. So it is purely a private matter now between us and them.

They seem to have gotten angry and say their parents will come from Korea to meet with us and settle the issue with us in person and help them find a new place, which I think is quite unnecessary. I am willing to add more heating units and fix the door if they cooperate and give me a chance to work together. They then ignore my next 2 messages asking them for permission to fix the problem and if the problem is fixed will they be able to finish the remainder of their stay.

So now the issues are:

  1. They have not confirmed whether they will continue their stay if we can meet their demands for extra heating appliances and fixing the lock.
  2. They have not stated a date in which they plan to leave the property and are ignoring my messages.
  3. They request a refund of 50%. What is the opinion for other hosts? Is this a standard amount for the situation?
  4. At what point will we need to consider eviction?
  5. What affect will there be on my as a host if they complain to Airbnb directly?

Sorry but this issue is just causing a lot of worry and trouble for me during a busy moment when I have a lot of other things on my plate. I really prefer they just let us fix the problems to satisfy them and they stay for the remainder and we all shake hands and leave it at that. I don’t think they have malicious intent but they are young and inexperienced.



Sorry you’re having to go through this. It’s so stressful when something like this happens.

First, I’m hoping that they’ve messaged you on the Airbnb message stream (so there’s a record of everything).

I would call Airbnb IMMEDIATELY! The parents have nothing to do with this. It seems that they’re not letting you know when there’s a problem and then wanting to cancel. If they’re not responding to messages, it seems that they don’t want to work something out. However, YOU’RE the boss. It’s up to you if you want them to stay or leave. I wouldn’t try to negotiate directly with the guests and the parents should NOT be involved in this, at all. It will just become a huge mess.

It sounds like they might either be scammers or not familiar with how Airbnb is supposed to work. Regardless, it’s not up to them to decide the outcome.

If they’re not communicating with you on the Airbnb Message stream, then that’s a problem.

I"m curious to know what the other hosts here think, as well.


I’m a bit confused by your post. From what I understand, the main guest tried to book for several months. When his card was declined, the other guest made a booking (but just for three days), and you altered the amount manually so they would pay for a stay of several months using a booking of only three days.

Is that correct? If so, have you altered the booking to reflect the correct dates since they checked in? I’m assuming so, since you mention that a week has passed since they checked in. In that case, I assume when you modified that dates you also modified the rate so they didn’t owe you any more money.

In like to make sure I understand properly before I reply with advice!

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Hi Daniella Alberta,

Thank you for trying to understand the situation. I apologize if it is not clear as this was a unique case. I wouldn’t have done it like this but there was the issue of time and the calendar had been blocked.

So they wanted to book for several months but because of the first inquiry from Student #1 and other short-term inquiries(I do not do instant booking) I had blocked off the calendar.

They wanted to book from 9/26 but they came to see the house on 9/23 with my co-host. I was at a meeting during that time so I was unable to deal with it other than send a few messages via my smart phone. The calendar was blocked from 9/26. They wanted to make the reservation there at this moment and also it was beneficial for us to accept it immediately and let other pending inquiries know that it wouldn’t be available.

Student 1 said his credit card had some issue so the initial inquriy for the actual stay period was not used to make the reservation. They immediately got Student 2 to book for 9/23-9/25 (3 nights) in which I edited using the Modify Reservation option for the entire period to fit in those 3 nights. Basically they booked for 3 nights but are staying for 3 months you can see it like that. I thought I’d just work it out manually and keep the calendar closed during their entire stay.

Therefore, on Airbnb the money was send after the first day and they are listed as already checked out. We have our calendar closed.

They packed their things and moved in on 9/26. From that point on no messages until I messaged to check up and found out about some problems.

Hi Happy Host,

Yes we still have everyone on Airbnb stream.

I already have the money but if they plan to leave they did not say when that would happen. In 2 days or 2 weeks or 2 months from now?

I think they both are really young and don’t understand how the system works. They also said we should have given them a rental contract so avoid these cancellation payment issues. I am doing this as a side thing not as a real estate company.

So my question would be how do you forcibly evict them? That would be the last resort. If they are unwilling to accept our renovations I would like to tell them they have 3 days to pack up and find a new place and move out and we will consider a possible refund of X amount after. I would also want to avoid getting in direct confrontation as I do not want to risk any potential damage to the property.

Also I had a lot of other inquiries leading up to a peak tourism season soon so if they really want out I have a lot of people waiting in line to get in.

I know there isn’t one answer but I am just curious to know how other hosts would handle it.

To get the place empty, I’d refund all but the days they have stayed. There is a serious complaint re the lock. You need to inspect the unit and fix lock and heat. Then you can start booking again.
If I was them, I’d want an agreement re refund before vacating. If they get Airnb involved, you may lose all the money as they have the lock issue which Airnb will state that you failed to provide appropriate security. They might shut down the listing.


Thanks for clarifying. I think I understand now.

I think the problem with Guest #1’s credit card might be the result of trying to pay for a long term reservation on a mobile device. Currently, AirBnB only accepts payments for long term stays that are made on a computer. This means that the failure to complete the long term booking might not necessarily be the fault of the guest.

I honestly don’t know that they have done anything to merit eviction. Complaining about a broken lock and lack of heat are not grounds to evict them, nor is not responding to messages. It’s frustrating, definitely!

The broken lock is worrisome because it I was staying somewhere where the door did not lock, I would also complain, regardless of how safe you feel the neighbourhood is.

Here’s the main problem as I see it. Because you manipulated the three day reservation to show the price for a three month stay, you ended up bypassing all of AirBnBs rules for long term bookings. Primarily, you received full payment for the three month stay right up front. Had the reservation been made and accepted properly, the guest would only have had to pay you for the first month when they booked. After that, they would have had their payments taken monthly by AirBnB, who would have then passed them on to you.

You also bypassed AirBnB’s long term guest cancellation policy. As a long term guest, the host’s normal cancellation policy does not apply. Instead, the guest is required to give 30 days notice if they wish to leave early. If they wish to leave earlier than the 30 day notice period, they can, but they must pay you for 30 days after notice has been given.

So to summarize, had you booked the reservation properly from the start, to this point you would have only received one month’s “rent” from the guest, and they would need to abide by the long term stay cancellation policy.

Here is what I feel you should do:

Based on AirBnBs long term cancellation policy, you should calculate the refund based on the total time they have stayed, plus 30 days. So if they have paid in full for a 12 week reservation, and have only been staying about a week, they can have a 50% refund if they check out by the end of week two. It will be important to mention a specific date. If they check out earlier than that, they may be entitled to a larger refund.

You do need to call AirBnB if you are not getting a response from the guest and make it clear what you are offering in terms of refund. I have to say that based on the way you booked the reservation, the fact that you have more of the guest’s money than you are currently entitled to, and the issue with the broken lock, I feel AirBnB will side with the guest. However, if you want them out if your house you may have no other choice than to involve AirBnB.

I hope this helps. I will definitely be interested in any updates you care to post!


Thank you for the frank answer. I understand that point and would probably feel the same way in their shoes. I am willing to fix and make a reservation with a locksmith it if they give me the simple yes or no instead of ignoring my messages. If they also say a specific date on when they plan to leave I can also think about what an appropriate refund amount would be. Now things are just hanging in limbo.

Thank you for your response though.

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Yes you are on the spot.

I really don’t mind giving an appropriate amount of refund if I know the intention of the guest and have their specific dates on leaving. I guess they took my mention of the ‘bypassing Airbnb’ with the reservation and having the completed stay as somewhat a threat of me not wanting to refund them at all and so they have become defensive. I guess also because of their age and situation they need time to consult with their parents back and forth as well and may be expanding the problem into something that isn’t necessary when it can be resolved with direct and clear communication.

Anyways your input was very helpful. I definitely don’t want to cause anyone problem as I have never had such a problem before. I just want it to be resolved peacefully and we all move on.

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Take some responsibility here for the problems you have created. Stop waiting for the guest, who cares if they want lock fixed. They have complained it is broken. Go there yourself, now, and replace the lock to secure your own premises.

Of course they feel unsafe, if one can push your door open, without a key, it is NOT locked or safe.

Make sure you tell the guests explicitly you have fixed the lock if they are not home when you arrive as it is an ‘emergency repair’ and they failed to respond to your messages. Make sure they can get a key if the key needs to be replaced. It doesn’t matter how ‘safe’ you think your neighbourhood is, there are thieves everywhere and I don’t want to leave my passport, camera and valuables in an apartment in a foreign country for one minute not locked up.

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Completely agree. I’m going to be blunt here - you need to stop relying on your guests to determine the next step. As you have said, they are young and probably unfamiliar with AirBnB. Arrange a time to get everything fixed, then send them a notification of the time via AirBnB. Then follow through. Do the same with their check out date. If you want them to leave, you need to tell them what they need to do in order to get the refund they want. Don’t wait for them to tell you.

You have put yourself in a bad position by making the reservation the way you did. AirBnB thinks these guests have checked out, so there is currently no host guarantee in place, and you have lost the opportunity to claim on their damage deposit. You need to take the initiative and make this situation better before AirBnB does it for you, and I suspect that AirBnB will not side with you in any decisions they make.


Note taken. Thank you. I plan to refund them in cash when they check out in person. But they said they want another week to think about whether they actually want to leave or they want us to fix the door. So I have called the locksmith regardless of them staying or not. Reason its been hard to organize is because if the lock and keys are changed I have to give them the new keys.

Broken door lock is a pretty serious concern to be honest. I would not be able to sleep at all knowing someone could enter.

Many of my guests tend to ignore my messages. I hate it but got used it now.

I suggest you leaving a note on their door indicating when you will enter to fix the lock. Don’t need their
response as long as repair gets done during afternoon time.

Lastly, I think partial refund is fair but put a condition that they need to move out by certain date.
This way you could find other bookings asap.

Hope all works out well.

Don’t refund in cash. You need to do it through Airbnb.


If you refund in cash, and then they make a complaint through their credit card you might lose out on BOTH. Don’t pay back in cash!

It sounds as though you were trying to help them out by coming up with an alternate payment option. I’d explain this to Air and see if they will allow you to change the rental to long-term based on your messages back and forth that would prove this is the case.

Agreed that a door not locking is an immediate and urgent issue that you must deal with NOW regardless of who is staying in the house. You do not need to consult with them to have it dealt with. Let them know you will wait at the house until they arrive to get the new keys.

From what you’ve said, once the lock and door are sorted out their reason for vacating is gone, and you want them to stay too. So that would solve the problem overall.

If it were me, there are a few red flags that would concern me about wanting to continue their stay:

  • Needing mommy and daddy to sort out their affairs - are they old enough to be using Airbnb? There might be additional legal / responsibility issues to renting to minors.
  • They have already left another home they weren’t happy with to come and stay at yours. It seems that they may be hard to please, especially with their lack of communication about trying to sort out their issues.
  • Were they the ones that damaged the door and lock? Would they do other damage?

Also, consider that you likely offered them a long-term rate (lower rate per night), but if they leave early your nightly rate should be higher, based on short-term, not long-term booking.

For example, let’s say you charge $2500 for a month for a 90-day stay; $1000 per week; $200 a night. They book at the lowest rate but only stay for a week. Their rate should then be changed to a weekly rate and refunded appropriately.

Minimize your losses if they leave. They’ve been non-communicative to your attempts to repair their issues and you’ve blocked off your calendar for other potential renters.

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