Tough host situation -- advice from hive mind?

If this happened at the Airbnb that I host, you bet I’d be coming with a UHaul to get the existing tenants out to accommodate my guests. But in this case I’m the guest

Booked a 4BR for 6 family members in a US solar eclipse city back in January. Host called last night, less than 72 hours before check-in, to to say their long term tenant wanted to extend because their (tenant’s) house wasn’t ready, they couldn’t move, couldn’t remove all their belongings, etc. I pointed out their tenant’s issues are not my problem.

Said they were messaging other hosts on the Air platform to try to find an alternative, but no response yet. Indicated they might be willing to “help” with a more expensive substitute Airbnb. They texted two listings – both only 3 BR, one much more expensive and one further out of town. I asked the host to call me back immediately with updates, no matter the time.

2 hours later, no further communication, so I called Airbnb support. They actually answered, but they “need to check with the host.”

Quickly booked an another not-as-nice 4BR (cuz 6 people coming from all over and accommodations are swamped due to eclipse tourism).

Documented the phone conversation and the need for host cancellation in a message to host on Airbnb platform and in phone text messages to the host.

Air support messaged early this a.m. that they were not able to contact the host, asked me for a screen shot of the call (I sent the call info page, but there was no message as it was a live call). I doubt they’ll do anything without documentation. Crickets from them since.

Host texted back later in the a.m. that they saw my message but were busy in a meeting.

Guess I should be minimally grateful I didn’t arrive to find other people in the rental with no notice, but concerned I may not be able to recoup the $2,200. Thoughts? Anything else I should do?

I’ve had many Airbnb stays and this is the first one that’s gone sideways. Concerning that the host seems overwhelmed or intimidated by their tenants, and they’ve tried to address the situation off-platform.

The $2,200 is held by Airbnb in “escrow” until the day after check-in, at which time it is transferred to the host. Unless there is a bug, you should collect.

Has the host gone on the platform and cancelled? If the reservation is still “on the books” the system WILL send your money to the host quite soon. Don’t let that happen

We had EXACTLY the same situation several years ago, and the long term guest moved out for two weeks. She was waiting for her new condo to be completed. As hosts, we made sure she was well aware of incoming guests well in advance, and as a guest she was constantly monitoring the state of construction and did not “suddenly” realize three days prior that the new place wasn’t going to be ready as planned.

Unfortunately, the host has not yet cancelled and continues to communicate off-platform, leaving no documentation other than my on-platform summary of their off-platform communications. They have not answered Airbnb Support’s call either.

I hope they’ll do the right thing but worst case, if the host doesn’t cooperate, I either self-cancel the day prior to check in, eat 50% and try to recoup from them, or keep the reservation, make a side trip to the property, knock on the door and send Airbnb Support photo proof that it is occupied.

P.S. I also had a 30 day tenant with a condition to move out for 4 days to accommodate short term guests. Well spelled out and well understood prior to their occupancy

I hope you’ve made it clear to Airbnb that the host is refusing to communicate on platform, but calls you, obviously to prevent Airbnb having documentation of her behavior, because she knows what she is doing will result in penalties.

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Whew, they cancelled. Although they messaged the reason being “guest has booked other accommodations” on the platform.

I corrected the record by thanking them for being responsible and cancelling due their long term tenant having difficulties vacating, resulting in a likely double booking – on the platform.


not everyone will agree with this, but what I’d have done is asked the host to Zelle me a portion of the cancellation penalty and then did a cancel on my side using the flow that allows the guest to request a cancellation exception.

I have no interest in letting the penalty money go to Airbnb. And the host benefits in search ranking by not getting a cancellation on their books. It requires a bit of trust on both sides to work this out.

win-win between host and guest, but not to Airbnb.

Not unreasonable, but I felt this host was unreliable, at a minimum because they seemed to be in a panic about their long term renters saying they couldn’t vacate. Even if they had found a suitable substitute local host, there would have been complications about money flows between 3 parties.

If they had offered to cancel from the get-go, we might have worked out something.

I recently had to decline an request because of a short-notice family visit, and I nicely asked them if they would be gracious enough to withdraw so I didn’t get dinged by Airbnb. They agreed, I told them they were the kind of guest I appreciated, and to remind me to give them a discount if they booked in future.

I also offered to pay for a hotel for guests when my A/C went out for the day it took my HVAC company to get there to fix it.

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The cynic in me is wondering if “long term tenants won’t leave” is code for “because of the eclipse, everyone is making WAY more money for those days and I want more money, too.” It’s not uncommon for this to happen. I’d watch the listing to make sure it doesn’t go live again. The fact that the host would not communicate on platform means they know that ABB will ding them plus the comment of “guest found other accommodations” is also sneaky.

I’m sorry this happened to you. :frowning:


“Unreliable” seems a generous assessment. They sound like they aren’t capable of effectively taking control of a situation. Did their tenant only inform them 3 days ago that they had no intention of moving out? Most people who are waiting for their new abode to be ready would be aware that it won’t be ready a lot longer than 3 days before move-in date.

Of course it’s possible that the tenants waited until the last minute to inform the host, but I suspect the host knew about this before then, and was wringing their hands trying to figure out how to deal with their Airbnb bookings.

Or maybe the tenants told them awhile ago that there was a possibility that they’d need to stay longer, and the host was just hoping that wouldn’t happen.

I also think casailinglady’s take might be likely.

I hear ya, nothing in human nature surprises me anymore, but that would’ve been really complex, involving substitute lodging machinations, haha. I’ll assume they were just overwhelmed when their tenants said, um, by the way, no we can’t leave – and dug themselves deeper trying to wriggle out of a cancellation.

Although, they did give a long explanation that they weren’t doing Airbnb anymore but kept my reservation because I booked so far in advance and was “really excited about the eclipse.” “But your listing’s still up,” I observed. And it’s a bit of a red flag when people overexplain.

Not going to bother revisiting the listing, it’s already caused enough tsurris and taken up enough time and space in my head. :slightly_smiling_face:

Thanks for listening, Team Host!


CRAZY update, oy vey.

I got a message from Airbnb Superhost support that I was getting a travel credit for only 20% of the total for the cancelled reservation. Only the smaller of the two payments I made.

I called back and asked where the rest of the money was, and that I wanted it returned to my credit card.

Turns out the first “helpful” Superhost CS rep did an admin cancellation, and because it was “short notice” it was partial and a travel credit only.

The second CS put me on hold to consult with a supervisor, and got the bigger payment (over $1700) credited but said they could not change it from a credit to a refund in the system, and that the first CS was supposed to have asked me to choose credit or refund. I’d already rebooked so couldn’t apply it to my new eclipse reservation.

Next they give me the fun news that the travel credit was only good for the next 3 days, then it would expire. Now the CS is suggesting they can talk to my new host, ask them to let me cancel my new reservation outside of their cancellation policy, and then rebook with my credit.

What could possibly go wrong with that plan, hah!

So instead I hurriedly booked a summer beach vacation with no consultation about dates with the fam; I guess I’ll worry about adjusting the dates later.

I gave the CS many pieces of mind about this entire process. I hasten to add that I was clear it was not about them personally, and I understood they were limited by the system they work under and the authority they have.

I think I’m never booking a big dollar or time-critical trip with Airbnb again.


I think I figured it out – I made the res a year ago because I knew lodging would be slammed due to the eclipse.

The host forgot about my booking – until I texted them recently with some follow up questions.

Then they threw their current tenants under the bus, blamed them for overextending. Said things like, funny, I didn’t get a notification of your message, funny, Airbnb is not returning my messages. Tried to get me to agree to some flaky solution (book somewhere else and I’ll send that host the money). Deliberately communicated off platform. Yada, yada, yada.

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Even if a host “forgot” about a booking made a year previous, Airbnb starts sending those “XX is coming soon” messages about a week-10 days before check-in.

Yeah, sounds like this host was less than honest with you.

As soon as I get a booking, I write it down in a little book I use for that purpose- guest’s name, dates, and phone number. I also put it on my phone calendar. I don’t like to rely on Airbnb’s notifications or their glitchy website. And since they now suspend host’s accounts immediately if a guest contacts them about an “issue” like privacy, safety, cameras, etc., without even contacting the host to find out if it there is any truth to the accusations, I want to be able to get in touch with booked guests off-platform if it ever proves necessary.

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I cannot believe they can get away with this behavior. They cannot fix any of their issues. Interesting that hosts are not the only people they screw (intentionally or unintentionally) .

Seems like you could do a charge back to your credit card.

Airbnb credit is not that valuable compared to getting your cash back

I started hosting in 2016 but heard that Airbnb was much more caring towards hosts in the beginning. Then they seemed to get very guest-centric. Now, with the abyssmal quality of their CS, both hosts and guests seem to get equally poor service.
Altho I am banned from posting on the Airbnb CC, I do read it, partly for amusement, but also because I am sometimes alerted to platform changes or system-wide glitches there, and also because there is a much bigger member base and that guests post there, as well.

Of course there are guests there whining about not getting a refund, when they don’t, in fact, qualify for one, and other nonsense, but there are also a lot of guests who have been using Airbnb for years, have a 5* rating, and encountered their first unacceptable situation, and Airbnb was totally screwing them around, when their case seems totally clear-cut.

One of my guests this season had an account showing her as a member since 2022, with 2 reviews. She told me she had actually had an Airbnb account since 2009, went into her account one day to find her 22 5* reviews completely gone, and that new, incorrect membership date. Despite numerous back and forths with CS, they never managed to retreive her original account.

Then there was my guest who told me she always makes sure that she doesn’t book a place run by a property management company, after calling Airbnb to cancel a booking because the “host” wasn’t answering any of her messages, and being told that “corporate hosts don’t have to answer messages”. She had to keep fighting with them to get that booking cancelled with a full refund. She won in the end, but never wanted to have that situation again.


Follow up – we ended up having a wonderful time at a convenient and lower cost new home that was only recently listed on Airbnb. And by asking nicely I got a better deal on a larger car at the Austin airport upon arrival (funny, at the last minute there were suddenly more cars available at lower prices) – the better to carry 6 of us to Pedernales State Park where we had a fabulous eclipse viewing experience. So the universe sorted us out.

From my perspective, the most frustrating thing, beyond the initial irresponsibility of the host, is that because they were clever enough to communicate off platform and not respond to Airbnb attempts to contact them, it resulted in a problematic admin cancellation solution rather than a host cancellation.

I would have lost the entire booking amount had I not been extremely vigilant, persistent and insistent. I did bring up disputing the cc charge; their response script was “You have the right to do that.” It may have helped that I was working with the Superhost assistance team; they repeatedly read their script telling me how wonderful and appreciated I was. They did inform me the host was penalized.

As another example of platform risk , our poor new hosts’ rating had been tanked by a 1-star review when they had accumulated very few reviews, basically by one stinker of a guest among the 5-stars who obviously was trying to get a full refund after their stay. “There was a bug in the sink,” etc.