URGENT ADVICE needed on what to do

I’m very new to airb&b and am having a problem with just my fourth guest. She booked a long term stay a while back, however soon after tried to cancel it - she probably thought it was like booking.com and there wouldnt be any penalties - however she had a long term cancellation policy so she would have had to pay the first month, and then decided to stay anyway. last week before moving in I had a call from airbnb saying that she wanted to change her reservation to just 19 days from 54 days and I accepted this as I had a feeling she was going to be a nightmare guest and was just happy for the 19 days payment.
She moved in last night and instantly said that the bedroom was damp and smelled really strongly.
This is just not the case - I go into the flat between each stay and check the property and there is 100% no damp - never has been. I got the flat professionally cleaned the day before she moved in, and also had a letting agent in there checking the place who didnt report any damp issues. She has now texted this morning (on the site) to say that she was coughing all night, and might have to find somewhere to stay.
I’ve remained professional and courteous and said we will sort it today whilst she is out. I have arranged for my contractor to go and look at the problem and rectify the smell if there is one - only thing I can think of it might smell musty from not having the windows open for a day, but again this is unlikely - as its newly painted and decorated throughout!

So in a nut shell, there is no damp and she is lying, and trying to get a full refund. What can I do if anything to protect myself from this happening. I have asked my contractor to take photos of all the walls to prove no damp, have asked him to air it all day and stay there to ensure any smell goes, I’ve asked him to take photos of the working fans int he flat…is there anything else?
It will infuriate me if she gets away with this as we will be seriously out of pocket. however, another part of me wants to just get her out because its causing me a lot of stress and I’m currently heavily pregnant!

Any help or advice from more experienced hosts would be greatly appreciated!



This is one where you have to open a case with Air. I would tell her she should cancel and then you would be able to,refund something off her stay just to get her out. And then refund some nominal amount.

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Me, I would just get her out ASAP and cut my losses. You’re going to lose money either way with this one so it would be better to minimise your losses. Tell her she can leave immediately - she clearly has plans to make you pay if you make her stay.


Thanks for the reply. Sorry for my ignorance, but if she cancels, do I get any of the money she should have owed me for the stay? Or do I end up with £0!
I’d be happy with saying she can move out and I will just charge her half or something…

Could you ask your contractor to provide a written statement that he didn’t find anything wrong?

Hi, Yes I can definitely do that - I’m sure the contractor will do that for us - he knows the flat and that there are not any issues. I can also get a statement from the cleaner, previous tenant and letting agent if needs be!
Will all of this help me if she tries to get a full refund from me, as I’ve read some peoples posts that the hosts weren’t even given the opportunity to put across their conflicting evidence and the guest was automatically sided with.

I would suggest maybe contacting Airbnb now and submitting your documentation before she has a chance to say anything, just so it’s on record. I think you can open a case and upload your evidence now. Maybe give them a call first and see what they suggest/get it on record

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Did she provide a reason why she initially wanted to cancel, and then again why she needed to shorten her stay from 54 to 19 days? Why is she staying at your place for such a long time?

Just wondering what kind of alternative she is seeking. Is your place too expensive for her? Is she wanting a closer location to a job? Does she know someone in the area who is willing to let her stay for free, and now she is doing anything to get out of the reservation?

The first reason she gave for wanting to cancel was because she had medical appointments to attend, and when I asked for proof (in a nice way!), she didn’t have it - and if this had have been true I’m sure she could have used the extenuating circumstances policy. Then she shortened the stay because apparently her contract for working in the area was cut short - again, no verification of this. I do fully believe she just wants to get out of the booking, as she has found somewhere cheaper, or has a friend that can put her up or something.
Contractor has been round and there is no sign of any damp, and definitely not any smell. She said it was enough to keep her up coughing all night, which is so untrue. The contractor said she hasn’t unpacked any belongings so she clearly had no intention of staying.

Contact Airbnb by phone asap! Upload any documentation your contractor can supply.
Airbnb will probably suggest she leaves but you should still get paid I would imagine?
She is trouble and being pregnant you do not need this type of guest or hassle!
Air should support you through this and ensure you get some money.
No way should she get a refund!

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I agree that you should contact Airbnb immediately and start a resolution. Tell them all the details about the situation. I wouldn’t offer any more than whatever your cancellation policy is. Airbnb may help her find new accommodations if she needs them.

Think about what you want for the outcome. You mentioned being pregnant and she is a source of stress. But you also mentioned that you will be infuriated if she gets a full refund and you are out of pocket - this will also be a source of stress.

Is there a certain amount of money that you will be happy with if you two can just part ways? Will you likely be able to rebook shorter night stays at a higher price to make up the difference?

I would contact Airbnb and let them know that she first wanted to cancel the whole thing due to medical appts. Then she cut her time short. And now immediately upon arrival she is pulling this stunt. You could offer to let her out of the reservation but for a certain price. If you cancel, Air is going to refund her in full. So you can tell them that you are not cancelling but you suspect the guest has a co-worker or friend that she can stay with for free, and is doing anything to get out of the booking. Maybe the guest will accept to lose a little money and then leave.

Hi everyone,
Thanks for your replies. I have just got off the phone to air bnb support, who were reassuring that I have done enough (contractors, cleaners, photos/videos, kept in touch with guest etc) for now. I guess I just have to wait for now and see what she does or says when she gets back to the flat tonight - and I’ve got all my evidence to fight it if needs be - if only out of principle, but also we rely on this money!
Thanks for all your support, its been great having this forum to bounce ideas around and check my thinking.

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Hi Beca, you have a really bad guest, and she would probably use all means (including lots of lies) to get refund from you. Please do not stress because stress doesn’t help you at all, it only affects you negatively. If possible, you should let her cancel and move on (you may lose some money if you can mediate with her, and do a partial refund only). Will your place get easily rebooked if she cancels?

What you have done so far sounds very good and I hope these evidence are enough to let you win. For what the rep told you and reassured you, it might be true or might not be true. Be prepared if the ‘not’ occurs, but don’t stress, there is nothing in this world, that is more important than your family and your health. Good luck.

You’ve done what you can to fight a bad situation. Relax, breathe, release the tension.

The lesson to take away from this is to not try to operate long-term rentals. AirBnb is supposed to be short-terms rentals, in the first place. I can also see that you had “already spent” the money you were going to get from this LTR, and now you’re stressed (counting chickens before they hatch?). Better to have 20 successful STRs than 1 LTR that falls through.


Hi Ken, I agree with you that Airbnb is not good for long term rental, guest can cancel and argue even if you have a strict cancellation policy. But I do prefer long term rental and it is much less effort and time needed. All my long term booking came from Stayz so far, and I have a fairly flexible cancellation policy, I charge 20% non-refundable deposit and guest can cancel 5 days prior to check in but they would lose the 20%, if they cancel within 5 days, I think they lose all. The website allow me to set the deposit from 10%-50% and days up to 28 days (or even longer?). These deposit are non-refundable and not arguable (unlike Airbnb), so guests are pretty serious when they book. Also, Stayz gives me the deposit (less 7% commission of the total booking amount) the next day after guest made the booking, so I can have the money in my bank account (even bookings few months in the future).
So long term booking can be good if the website has good policy protecting the host.

Don’t stress, don’t refund and make her pay for her sneaky way of trying to get out of this reservation.


This guest will be under the long term cancellation policy which supercedes the host’s cancellation policy.

Unfortunately not. By the guest requesting to reduce her stay to 19 days (and by the host accepting) the guest is now no longer under the long term policy.

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I think all of the hosts had faced this kind if situation at least once…Agree with Zandra, get her out asap