No Hot Water. Host Not Willing to Give Any Discount or Refund

Hello. We are new to airbnb and I’m not sure what the protocol is for our situation. We are currently in the middle of a 15 day stay on the Big Island of Hawaii. Arrived Feb 20th and leaving March 7th. There has been no hot water in our rental at all since arriving. The place we are staying is completely solar powered. There has been an unusually long stretch of cloudy days and there currently is no backup power source. We brought the issue to the hosts attention on the first day and he offered to let us come to his house to take showers. My husband finally took him up on the offer yesterday but otherwise we’ve been showering at a friends house. We were just going to try to live with it. But after talking to some friends here on the island who have experience as hosts, it sounds like asking for some type of a discount or refund should be a reasonable request. Yesterday I brought the issue up with our host again and asked if he’d be willing to give a partial refund or discount. He said we had signed a contract and reminded me that he had offered to let us use his shower. He also said that the water temperature is 88 degrees suggesting that it should be adequate. I know 88 doesn’t sound bad but its not very warm especially when its been very stormy and cloudy outside every day. He is obviously aware that it is a problem though because he has a new generator outside in a shed that is going to be installed in 3 weeks. So we’ve decided not to stay there for the remainder of our trip. We’re leaving 7 days early and we’ve already paid. Our host has a strict cancelation policy so I’m not sure where that leaves us in terms of options. I know that my next step with airbnb would be to go to the resolution center and request a refund. My question is how much is reasonable to request? I don’t want to be unreasonable but I just am not sure what is within reason in this particular situation. Thank you for any suggestions or feedback. Aloha and Mahalo

Can someone else please correct me if I’m wrong but shouldn’t guests with any problems report the issue to Airbnb at once if they are going to be eligible for a refund?


First, you should be aware that we are not Airbnb. We are a forum of Airbnb hosts so tend to take the side of the host…so you are asking a biased audience. Second, is hot water listed as a promised amenity. It made be a new addition since you reserved but check the listing. Airbnb takes a dim view of hosts promising things they can’t deliver. If it’s not a promised amenity and you knew it was a solar powered listing look again carefully at the wording on the listing. Hosts take a dim view of people who don’t read the listing, book and then are unhappy with their decisions. Third, contact Airbnb.


It looks as though that is the case if its within the first 24 hours. If its longer than 24 hours the resolution center is our only option. The first page that pops when you open the resolution center asks if you’d like to send money or request money. I don’t know what would be fair to ask for at this point. He does have a strict cancelation policy but his listing also does not mention the possibility that there mite not be hot water. I know I should have acted on it right away but we decided to just try to deal with it and we thought the weather would have improved at least a little bit by now. Everyone we talk to says this stretch of cloudy days is very unusual. I’m not super familiar with how airbnb looks at these situations? I’d like to know if I’m out of line by thinking maybe a refund or discount would be a reasonable request.

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Hi @corsierosie

As Airbnb says on your booking confirmation, you should have contacted them when your host was unable to fix the issue regarding your hot water. Saying you can shower at his place is not a solution.

What you can’t do, in my opinion is stay and then ask for a discount retrospectively.

Anyway we are a host forum independent of Airbnb so aren’t best placed to answer your question. Airbnb is, so give them a call or post on Airbnb’s Community Forum.

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I’m intentionally asking a biased audience cause I’d like to know if I’m being a jerk. The listing says this. “Powered by state of the art photovoltics solar hot water.”

It seems that his control of nature is limited but then again, he shouldn’t state something is available if it isn’t. And what is his attitude about it? He must think his solution of you showering in his home is an acceptable substitute?

And no I don’t think someone is a jerk if they want the promised amenties.

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Thank you for your feedback. Yes he seems to think that offering a shower at his house should be an acceptable solution.

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No, you’re not being a jerk. :slight_smile:

I was interested when I saw the title of your post because we (hosts) had a similar issue with our current guests. They contacted me on their first morning here saying that there was no hot water. (This is not solar, but regular electric water tank heater).

We had to get a repairman to visit on three occasions until it was properly fixed.

We have not offered the guests a discount but we sent them a bouquet of flowers to thank them for their patience along with a $50 gift card to a local restaurant.

The guest has informed us that they understand and that all household appliances need work from time to time, often unexpectedly.

Hi, I’m on the Big Island too, and yes, it’s been cloudy for a few weeks now off and on. Not that unusual really.

What does his listing say? Does he say that due to the solar, hot water is not always promised? You now have to check off a box that says you have hot water so I don’t know if Air would consider it a failure on the part of the hosts.

K9 is right, we are NOT Airbnb and we don’t usually answer guest questions but if you have a question like that you really need to give them a call.

I love taking outdoor showers that are not heated but that is just me. I’ve lived here a long time. :rofl::sunglasses:

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It sounds like you are staying in Puna?? Am I right? It’s a bit of the wild jungle out there and a lot of visitors experience a bit of culture shock with things that people there are pretty used to. Such as generators, solar and off the grid living. If you are indeed staying in a place that’s off the grid, that is part of it, and a refund for this reason might not be in order.

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I know absolutely nothing about solar water heating but all the blurb I’ve ever read (not a lot, admittedly) says that overcast days are fine and that sunshine isn’t necessary?

Thank you for the feed back. The listing only says Powered by state of the art photovoltics solar hot water. It doesn’t say anything about the possibility of no hot water due to weather. I did live on Kauai when I was younger and I know way of life is different over here for lots of people. After looking at other listings in this area, most of them do mention what type of backup power they have. I did not even think to look for that when we made our reservation. I feel maybe its a learning experience on both our parts. I know what to look for in the future. That being said, we have paid for 15 days and we are choosing to leave and stay somewhere else for the remainder of our trip. It seems that he’s not bothered by how this has unfolded which is a little disappointing.


We’re staying in Naalehu :lizard::smile:

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I’m disappointed too. He either is just getting started and doesn’t know what he’s doing or he has hundreds of reviews and knows your one bad review won’t hurt him. Meanwhile we have hosts posting here who cotort themselves bending over backwards when they shouldn’t. You just got unlucky.

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Thank you for the thoughtful feedback. I’ve had great hosts with airbnb the few times I’ve used it before. One of our hosts stayed up very late waiting for us to arrive cause our drive got slowed down by a foggy snowy mess. She was so sweet and didn’t seem bothered in the least that we’d kept her up late. I don’t know if I’d be able to be so gracious if I were in her shoes. My parents were also hosts for five or six years and they still keep in touch with some of the guests they had. I will get in touch with airbnb and we’ll see how it goes. :hugs::sweat_smile:


Too bad I am booked! I have hot water! :sunglasses:
If you feel comfortable PMing the listing to me you may and I will take a look.
If it were me, I would definitely disclose that sometimes the solar does not work well enough to deliver reliable hot water all of the time.

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i have solar it should still work.Mine does even in the cloudy weather, I doubt he will give you a refund. Airbnb might help you out more but they don’t like cancellations. GL.

He probably doesn’t even know what he is offering, because photovoltaic solar panels are for making electricity and that shouldn’t be a big problem on cloudy days: They produce less, but they still produce electricity. However using this electricity to make hot water doesn’t seem like the smartest thing to do, because it’s really easy to heat water with a low-tech much cheaper solar panel. These solar panels basically consist of tiny black tubes where the water runs through. These do require some sunshine.

Personally, I would just see it as part of the adventure. I would stay, get accostumed to the cold water and maybe ask for a 10% discount for the inconvenience. But that is just me: I like low tech jungle lodges where one gets a maximum of 3 hours of light from 1 (one) lightbulb.

EDIT: And what is also very nice about the strategy of just staying, is that you will appreciate your hot water at home a bit more :wink: .


Great answer, you are a smart person, I was right!