Airbnb has instituted a major policy change that should significantly cut back on host cancellations. As of August 22, 2022, hosts may have to pay up to $1,000 in fees if they cancel a reservation or are unable to deliver the product they promised.

Host Cancellation Fees Enhance Integrity of Booking

I like and use Airbnb, but I’m the first to admit that it has its shortcomings, many of which are relatively easy fixes.

Its new policy regarding host cancellations goes a long way towards guaranteeing that you’ll get the space that you booked. Prior to the rule change, hosts that cancelled would pay a $100 fee if they did so within seven days of check-in, and a paltry $50 if they did so outside of that period. Compare that to the consequences of a renter cancelling, which could result in your receiving no refund (based on the cancellation fee schedule).

New Host Cancellation Penalties

The cancellation fee can range from $50 to $1,000, depending on the circumstances. Airbnb states that these charges are to offset the costs of relocating guests at the last minute.

  • 10% of the reservation amount for cancellations 30 days or more from check-in.
  • 25% for cancellations between 48 hours and 30 days prior to check-in.
  • 50% for cancellations within 48 hours of arrival

These fees are also assessed if the renter arrives but the location is not what they were promised or is uninhabitable.

Hosts Still Have Built-in Protections

Hosts are still protected if the reason for the cancellation is unavoidable. For example, if they discover that you are going to throw a party, they have a right to break the reservation. Likewise, an unforeseeable event such as emergency repairs or natural disasters would be considered valid reasons that an owner could cancel without penalty. Likewise, if the owner and customer both agree to cancel the reservation, they can do so by contacting Airbnb and will not face a penalty.

A Big Step Towards Protecting Renters

The new host cancellation policy represents a tangible step forward towards restoring the balance between renters and owners. There’s nothing as frustrating for a renter as a last-minute cancellation on a long-planned trip, and there’s certainly no guarantee that Airbnb would be able to find a comparable or better property. But by adding an extra zero to the potential cancellation penalty for hosts, Airbnb is making it far more costly for owners to pull their property off the market once a reservation is made.

Gilbert Ott

Gilbert Ott is an ever curious traveler and one of the world's leading travel experts. His adventures take him all over the globe, often spanning over 200,000 miles a year and his travel exploits are regularly...

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  1. what is happening with airbnb, as a host it seems they are becoming very domineering, the quality of their clients has dropped considerably and new rules such as how many babies you want to bring go free and know this, even when guests abuse your house rules they dont want to know, and adjusting your listing to not get caught out is very complicated.I am seriously considering not working with them any longer after more than 10 years as a host, who needs this kind of hassle!

  2. Not sure this will make much difference – virtually every host that has cancelled on me has quoted “unforeseeable events”. It’s fascinating how many broken (and unfixable) ACs there are or how many places suddenly run out of water, particularly during large events and for accommodation booked well in advance!

  3. Just had this happen to me, exactly seven days from arriving on an International trip. Cost me more than double to rebook a new reservation. “Water leak” and now the property is suddenly available again, at a much higher price. Perhaps add an additional restriction: Once the booking is cancelled on short notice for “maintenance,” the property address can no longer be rented during the original cancelled dates. Would prevent price gouging owners from relisting properties as fresh listings or under another profile.

  4. I hardly ever bother with Airbnb, the pitfalls as a renter are too much to deal. I’ve used a few times in the past for very specific needs and had a good experience but much prefer the comforts of a sterile business hotel. This new rule won’t make much difference unless they make it impossible to list the property again in the same time frame as they cancelled.

      1. We had to cancel our place one time, our family urgently needed to stay. It was certainly blocked from re booking. So l don’t know how these people can re list at a higher rate.

        1. I believe Airbnb don’t allow re-listing on their platform (at least in some instances), but a clever/scheming host will simply list their property at a much higher price on another platform (Expedia, when they see there is money to be made. This has sadly happened to me twice in Tel Aviv, so would not consider Airbnb there ever again.

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