Airbnb extenuating circumstances policy allows you to claim a full refund and wave off the cancellation penalties if you have to cancel a reservation due to situations beyond your control.
Remember, this policy applies equally to both the Airbnb host and guest.
What qualifies for Airbnb extenuating circumstance?
Situations that qualify for ‘Airbnb extenuating circumstances policy’ are divided broadly into two categories.
- Circumstances that require documentary proof
- Cases needing a special review by Airbnb
- How to cancel your Airbnb reservation?
1. Circumstances that require a documentary proof
DEATH OF A GUEST OR HOST (Airbnb Extenuating Circumstance)
If you are in any of these unfortunate circumstances, you will need to provide one of the following documentary proof to get your cancellations penalties waived off for the reservation and claim a full Airbnb refund (provided you request for cancellation before check-in start time):
- Death certificate
- News article naming the deceased
- Police report
SERIOUS ILLNESS OR INJURY (Airbnb Extenuating Circumstance)
If the host or a member of the travelling party gets seriously ill or injured, you can request for full Airbnb refund by providing a documentary proof from the physician.
- The documents from the physician should indicate that the person can/should not travel.
- The document should be dated after the reservation was made.
- It specifies that this is not a pre-existing condition known to the person.
Airbnb gives you 14-days to provide this document after the cancellation to process your full refund.
GOVT. MANDATED OBLIGATION (Airbnb Extenuating Circumstance)
You can request for full Airbnb refund by providing documentary evidence of the following situations:
- You have been called for jury service
- Court appearances
- Military deployment
- The documentary proof should be dated after the reservation was made.
- The document should have the name of the person fulfilling the obligation.
PROPERTY DAMAGE/ISSUES (Airbnb Extenuating Circumstance)
If there have been unforeseen damage to the property which makes it unsafe for guests or essential amenities like running water, heating etc. has stopped working.
As long as it was not a planned activity such as a renovation project, you can request for cancellation under Airbnb extenuating circumstances by providing ALL of the following documents.:
- Proof that the issue is being addressed (such as photos, invoice from vendor etc.)
- An estimate of when it is likely to be fixed
- An invoice of repairs being done
- Photos of the damage
TRANSPORT DISRUPTIONS (Airbnb Extenuating Circumstance)
If you are going to stay at an Airbnb but you can’t travel to the destination due travel disruptions on route such road closures or flight cancellations – your full Airbnb refund can be considered under Airbnb extenuating circumstances policy.
- It should be under the circumstances beyond your control. If you missed your flight or train, no point asking for Airbnb for a refund in such a case.
- Ideally, this policy is to cover transport closures due to natural disasters such as earthquakes, storms, floods, storms and things like that.
- You’ll need to provide an official document or proofs such as photos of road notice etc. to confirm you couldn’t travel to the destination.
2. Cases needing a special review by Airbnb
For these circumstances, there is no clear rule defined by Airbnb and decision is made on a case-by-case basis after a special review by an Airbnb case manager based on the evidence provided by you.
TERRORIST ACTIVITY OR CIVIL UNREST
If a terrorist act is preventing the guest from travelling to or from the destination, or if it makes it unsafe to host guests, such a scenario can be considered as an Airbnb extenuating circumstance after special review.
You may need to provide sufficient news references or government advisory note clearly suggesting not to travel to the affected area.
EPIDEMIC (such as coronavirus)
The spread of the epidemic such coronavirus in the majority of the countries is prompting people across the world to change their travel plans.
Airbnb has confirmed that Airbnb extenuating circumstances policy applies to any reservation where the host or guest has to cancel or change the booking to comply with travel restrictions implemented by government or health authorities in the departure or destination region.
Which means you can ask for a full Airbnb refund or change your reservation dates penalty-free provided there is documentary proof suggesting travel restrictions by the local authorities in that region.
Airbnb coronavirus support page is continually being updated to include more regions worldwide as they get identified as coronavirus hit area.
You can request for penalty-free cancellation under Airbnb extenuating circumstances if you host or going to travel to these area listing on the page.
Ready my post about its impact on Airbnb, Coronavirus Myths.
If there are travel restrictions imposed by a government, law enforcement agency, or military that restricts travel to or from the departure or destination, it qualifies for Airbnb extenuating circumstances policy.
CHANGES TO VISA OR PASSPORT REQUIREMENTS
If there has been a change in the visa rules or passport requirements of the guest after the reservation was made that make it impossible to travel to the destination, you can request for full Airbnb refund under Airbnb extenuating circumstances policy.
Note: This doesn’t include lost or expired travel documents.
3. How to cancel your Airbnb reservation?
If you think your reservation qualifies for penalty-free cancellation under Airbnb extenuating circumstance policy, it’s better first to call and let them know your situation (find Airbnb contact number here).
Airbnb customer support is usually very responsive if you can explain to them the problematic situation you are in, and they should be able to suggest you the best way forward with your reservation and get a full refund.
However, Airbnb suggests: if you have confirmed that your circumstances meet the requirement for Airbnb extenuating circumstance policy, you first cancel the Airbnb reservation and contact Airbnb customer services to file a claim. They will walk you through the next steps and claim must be submitted within 14 days of cancellation.
I think this method can lead to confusion, to avoid disappointment I recommend speak to Airbnb customer care first and explain them the situation before you do anything about your reservation.
Don’t think your situation falls under Airbnb extenuating circumstance policy? Read more about Airbnb cancellation policies and how they work; you may still be able to get a full or partial Airbnb refund or cancel with minimal penalty.