Water shortage in High Season Vacation property

Entire condo listing - 3 bedroom, 2 1/2 bath. Priced high acc. to Easter Season, which is huge in Costa Rica. There was a water shortage and the tanks ran dry. Administration for the area cut off water for approx 4 to 6 hours each day.
Guests - first time users are looking for a night off out of a 4 day rental.
I offered an add. night for the whole condo, a weekend free in our best room (also rent individual rooms), but they want a steep 25% refund.
Any ideas?

I would give them a 25% refund. I think that’s reasonable if there is no water 25% of the day. Water should be a basic amenity


Do you mean in addition to what you already offered?

Whose tank ran dry? Yours? Or the associations?

I have a water tank and I have to keep an eye on water levels, and it is most definitely my fault if I’m not watching it and it runs out. :joy:

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Good points from @konacoconutz - was this something you could have prevented or was it beyond your control?

25% doesn’t seem steep at all. Water is a pretty basic amenity and quite honestly, I’m surprised that the guests aren’t asking for a full refund. I suspect that I would. I mean, not being able to flush the loo… !

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It is out of our control. It is mainly Costa Ricans that rent here and it is expensive. They come for the beach, the security, to see and meet their friends. It is like a huge gated community and the whole community ran dry leading to the shut-off.
Most rentals are done privately and nobody would really do a refund for the inconvenience.

I,think what you offered is sufficient, why can’t people just go with the flow. Stuff happens,


Not having water for a few hours a day should be considered normal in countries like Costa Rica. For future guests maybe mention it in your listing. Also wondering if you can install your own tank, to bridge the 4-6 hours without water? It is also advisable to at least have a very large bucket that you keep filled with water so they can scoop water for the loo.

For these guests: An additional night or a weekend free might not fit their schedule and might be totally useless. And additional night appears like a 20% discount. I would try a 10% discount. If they are Costa Rican they should know that the water can go at times.

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@AlexSJ -
Could you have predicted this and done anything to make it better? For instance, we are on rainwater cisterns and our housekeeper keeps track of the level and buys truckloads of water a couple of days before we run out.

If not, it’s just a unforeseen outage of a public utility. I would not refund for that, but I might offer to buy them a dinner (or have our cook make them a dinner for free).

I suspect they will give you a bad review for not giving them a refund.

Other hosts with more experience with Air than me - will Air play judge and jury and give them a big refund for this no matter when AlexSJ does?

I will just add to that, that you could refund them the 25 percent like they are asking, plus the sun, the moon, all the stars and your first born, and they will still give you a bad review.

Happened to me when a guest found a roly poly millipede on the bed (or so she says) … I refunded one night, recleaned sheets, recleaned apartment, and it didn’t matter. I still got a crap review about how “tropical worms were crawling all over her.” Total BS.

Now guests are warned that some bugs may inadvertently get into the house if doors are left open. No refunds for nature’s gifts!


The higher ups don’t really put out any information about how the situation is. We did see a notice more by chance at the guard house about not watering gardens …there is talk of that in High Season there are water issues, but we did not have any X-Mas or last Easter …

I should have put a note in amenity restrictions - we have it for the wifi, which comes and goes sometimes.

I was thinking of asking Airbnb about some input, but I am a bit of their unpredictability …but yes, a refund will not make the review any better …

A Very High End, “exclusive” vacation property in a Gated Community…charging top dollar, absolutely in my opinion should provide water, or make amends.
If this is a Costa Rica issue, and I believe it is, due to a bad rainy season plus overdevelopment, then guests need to be aware of this in advance. Maybe locals are aware, …but I doubt International travellers would expect a daily water shutdown in a private upscale gated luxury community .
“Luxury” includes water as a given basic amenity.
I would be certain to give them a 25% refund, especially before ABB gives a 100% refund.


Yikes! I am in shock at how many people still view water as a basic amenity. A basic necessity, yes, but in these days of climate change, we are being asked to take a more conservative approach, and it’s not like they lost the supply for 12-24 hours.

Southern Portugal often has erratic supplies, particularly in summer, although the infrastructure has vastly improved over the last couple of decades. People manage, including in STRs, by having 5 litre bottles, buckets etc available in stashes in cupboards, and tanks on the roofs. One luxury, eco development I know recycles all of the grey water to look after their lush gardens.


Actually, and what probably threw me off is that they introduced themselves as locals saying that our condo complex is their favorite in Punta Leona and they have stayed there multiple times.

Account is new saying they are from San Jose, our capital. So I did point out that we don’t have a TV and cable, …now it turns out the booker is visiting her CR parents, but lives somewhere else.

I think they are playing the Airbnb game of getting their stay for cheaper, but yes I am afraid that Airbnb CS can do anything from 0 to 100% on this issue.

I would expect a full refund, I also have my own water supply and have 1000 gallons ins storage just in case there is an issue as my well can be a slow producer.

The issue is one of management, if you have intermittent water supply then put in storage.

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Actually, being without water for 4 to 6 hours each day of a 4 day rental is 16 to 24 hours of no water. If the host provided 5 litre bottles, buckets available in stashes in cupboards, and tanks on the roofs that would alleviate the inconvenience, Guests still should be informed of this possibility ahead of time especially since this is a high priced luxury rental. I would be proud to stay at a complex that recycles the grey water. That is a plus.
That is not the information or message I am hearing about this situation.


I agree, utilities— power, water, heat, cooling, are not a given. They come at great cost. (Can I get on my high horse about the future of electrical power world wide?). Even in a luxury setting, humans should not have the unlimited right to waste resources which are indeed, very limited, especially in some locales. Water is a necessity for life, but not for unlimited waste-age by wealthy vacationers. Look at Cape Town, South Africa—there ain’t no water there, and there is a TON of wealth there.

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Quite right! Our son lives in Cape Town and we are in the process of buying a studio apartment there. “Day Zero” when the taps will be turned off has been put off until next year because EVERYONE, rich and poor, resident and tourist has had to learn that sometimes using all the water you want can be a luxury… so they can’t have 15 minute showers twice a day or run water while they’re cleaning their teeth. If I were holidaying ín a drought-prone country and there were cuts (as here in Spain sometimes!) I’d be really pleased with a10% discount, as Kona says, things happen!

There is a confusion between water management and many businesses do this and not having water at all, obviously there are many ways to conserve and that can be sold as a positive.

I still can’t leave the tap running, following the UK drought of 1976!!! I even turn off the kitchen tap when someone else leaves it running, with a verbal huff…