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Recently purchased property and previous owner

We recently purchased a property which has bookings through next year. The previous owner would like us to keep all her bookings because it affects her superhost status. We are already having problems with this situation (she collects the $ and sends us a check). I called airbnb and they were of little help. They did state that she could cancel the bookings for a $50 charge and it would affect her ratings. They also stated that it is against their policy for her to continue to rent the property since she doesn’t own it. Any advice on how much the cancellations hurt her status? She has a few other listings so I don’t really don’t mean to ruin her business but I am concerned about renting out my property in a transaction which I am not a part of. We are going with a commercial rental company, not airbnb to rent for future.

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Not your problem. She can rebuild her superhost status though this debacle makes it seem like she’s not that super.

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I’m sure this has been discussed before. If a property is sold, the monetary cancellation penalties don’t apply. Shouldn’t affect her superhost status, either, but that’s not your problem.

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Thanks, I did read a couple of topics about this here. I just never came across the rule that she cannot continue to honor her bookings if she doesn’t own the property. I was willing to work with her but it has been several weeks of bookings and she still has not sent a check for the rentals. She says I never sent the address which I emailed in advance. It’s just getting too sticky already and we have bookings through middle of next year.

She’s trying to have her cake and eat it too! Once the property was sold, she should have cancelled all those bookings. Right now you’re the owner and if anyone gets hurt, they will sue YOU, not her, because you’re the owner.

Also your homeowners will not cover you because you do not have STR insurance. Don’t be nice because she’s throwing you under the bus! She’s taking advantage of your good nature.

Tell her immediately that she needs to cancel them because she’s making you liable for any injuries and your homeowner’s doesn’t cover STR. Tell her that you are changing the locks and her guests will not be allowed to enter the property.

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Get your money then tell her to do one.

Essentially, you have the same property being listed twice by different hosts, once by you and secondly by the previous owner. This is against Airbnb ToS.

Right this minute, you are in a very vulnerable position, both financially and from a legal perspective.

You need to extricate yourself from this arrangement ASAP, preferably after when you get what you’re owed.

JF

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Get paid ASAP. Demand payment by end of business today (Venmo, Wire, or Cash). She also must provide the Contact Info for All Future Bookings (she has this via each booking in Air’s system).
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Then, reach out to all the future bookings and re-book them directly as YOUR GUESTS. If you wish to give her a percentage (finders fee), that is appropriate.
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Once you have your money, tell her it is over and change the locks. She has no leverage at all, and you are very vulnerable in the current situation. If she refuses to meet immediate payment or contact info then tell her it’s over, change locks, and leave her holding the bag.

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Thank you all very much for your advice. If I contact the future bookings, won’t they have to pay a cancellation fee?

The current guests have invalid bookings that violate Air ToS. The house is now yours. Air will cancel the stays at no penalty to the guests.
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Naturally, Air will “want to rebook the guests”, and they may try. The guests have NO OBLIGATION to do so. They can simply say, “Just cancel and refund us and we will make plans as we see fit”. They can choose to book any stay, any hotel, any whatever.
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Most (probably) will be happy to continue with your place as a new direct booking, everyone saves fees and a win-win - and you will be WAY AHEAD at quickly building a direct channel.
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The previous owner mislead you. As @Jefferson & a couple others said, Airbnb can help facilitate the change. Cancellations for change of ownership fall outside of the cancellation % for superhost status. If I’m wrong, it doesn’t matter, she sold the property.

Guests will be refunded the Airbnb booking fees.

The current situation is going to cause you tax headaches if not resolved quickly.

I’m sorry it happened. You are smart to get it resolved soon.

When you purchased the property did you put anything in the sales/purchase agreement about these pre-booked rentals?

I may have missed it—are you on Airbnb as a co-host? If yes grab guest names phone numbers & reservation details ASAP. You should be able to do a print screen of each reservation detail page.



@bearcatbert1029. @Annet3176 has a great idea. Demand that you are made co-host.
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Then you can easily copy all booking contact info (past and future). Get payment ASAP and kill the relationship. Then book all future bookings direct.

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Sorry that’s not true @Brian_R170

At the end of the day, they sold the property and cashed out. You as the new owner now hold all the liability yet are not getting paid and have zero control over who is staying at your own home. What if there is serious property damage due to guests she approved?

The details of whether or not the previous owner is going to be penalized by AirBnB is not your worry. I also wouldn’t be so concerned if you can keep the previous hosts future bookings and focus on getting out of this situation stat.

It seems that everyone advising you on how to take these bookings for yourself didn’t read to the end of your post. Or maybe they assume you are interested in renting so surely you would want to book direct even though you say you don’t.

So I’m curious, are you thinking of becoming a host or are you firmly set on this just being an investment property which will be commercially managed? If it’s the former this forum can be a gold mine of information. But as you can see we will also give you a lot of unsolicited advice.

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Is there any reason you want to maintain a relationship with this previous owner? Other than the benjamins, that is.

If they are not friend, family, head of the local crime syndicate who will send someone to break your knees, you do not owe them anything. I would get out of this arrangement and just move on to your commercial business.

Even if you have a written contract with them to continue their Airbnb for compensation from them, it seems they are in breach as they are not paying you. Have you seen any money at all yet? Their excuse is beyond lame.

You can either tell the former owner that if the money doesn’t arrive by x date, you are calling Airbnb to cancel the bookings, or just skip it and call Airbnb to cancel the bookings due to change of ownership.

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I didn’t realize people still fell for “the check is in the mail.”

I hate to stereotype but I find in my home boarding business that the check writers are 100% of a certain age. Everyone else uses online money transfers.

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Thank you all for your advice. I am interested in becoming a host but since I had no prior experience, I went with a commercial management company for the time being. I am here to learn the ins and outs of being a host.

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I am not on as a co-host. In fact the property cannot be searched any longer on Airbnb. The previous owner sent me a spreadsheet with the dates/amounts. I wasn’t comfortable with this but I thought I would give it a try. It’s not working out with her.

Our sale contract stated that I would “honor bookings in place at the time of the contract” however it did not state that I would honor them through Airbnb. She also continued to take bookings.

I need to get this payment first and then take the steps this group has suggested.

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As there’s something written in the sales contract, do you have a lawyer buddy who can put something on their letterhead for you? You don’t want the sale to be invalidated for any legal reason.

“The purpose of this letter is to notify you that you are in breach of Article x. of the sales contract, due to nonpayment of agreed-upon revenues to the property owner. If payment in the amount of $xxxx is not received by [date], all bookings will be cancelled. Furthermore, in accordance with Artlcle x., no bookings made after [date], the date of the sales contract, will be honored.”

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We were in a similar situation when we purchased our home in 2018. Airbnb WILL do this without monetary and super host penalty, the seller just has to do the work. The seller sent notification to the guests about the sale, called Airbnb to cancel penalty free, and the guests rebooked with me. If you don’t want them to book, you have that option, but I wanted to take the bookings so I did. You have plenty of leverage to make this happen, so it’s time to force her off her lazy (misinformed) rear end and protect yourself. Good luck!

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