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Airbnb is changing its cancellation policy. Here's what you need to know

Has an Airbnb host ever cancelled on you at the last minute?
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Airbnb Canada hosts now face larger penalties for preventable cancellations starting in August 2022. Your Superhost status or eligibility may change, too.

Has an Airbnb host ever cancelled on you at the last minute?

If you've ever had an accommodation reservation cancelled days before your trip, you know that it can be a hassle to find an alternative place to stay. Not only does availability dwindle when you book close to the time you plan to travel, but it also costs significantly more.

Until now, Airbnb Canada hosts weren't faced with penalties high enough to deter many of them from making last-minute cancellations. Hosts on the platform were fined $50 USD for cancellations of seven days or more before the reservation and $100 for cancellations under seven days. 

But the short-term rental company says that the penalty structure doesn't "adequately reflect the costs of moving guests into a similar or better place." As such, it is increasing the penalty for preventable cancellations based on the price and how close to check-in the reservation is cancelled.

Airbnb introduces new penalty structure 

Under the new rules, the minimum cancellation fee is $50 USD and the maximum fee has increased to $1,000 USD. The total reservation cost used to calculate the fee includes the nightly rate, cleaning fee and any pet fee but excludes taxes and guest fees.

  • If the reservation is cancelled more than 30 days before check-in, the fee is 10 per cent of the reservation amount.
  • If the reservation is cancelled more than 48 hours and less than 30 days before check-in, the fee is 25 per cent of the reservation amount.
  • If the reservation is cancelled 48 hours or less before check-in or after check-in, the fee is 50 per cent of the reservation amount for the nights not stayed.

The cancellation policy consequences remain the same, however: 

 

"A fee will also apply if a guest is unable to stay somewhere because it poses a significant health risk, e.g. severe mould, or because the place is substantially different from the listing description, such as if a Host lists a three-bedroom villa that is actually a one-bedroom apartment," says the short-term rental company. 

The new rules come into effect on Aug. 21.

What can Airbnb hosts in Vancouver do if they have an unavoidable reason for cancelling a booking?

If you have to cancel for unavoidable reasons then the company says it will work with hosts and help guests find another place to stay, without fees. These situations include:

  • valid reason beyond your control, such as emergency repairs (e.g. a gas leak or a burst pipe) or serious personal illness that prevents you from hosting.
  • Proof that a guest intends to have a party or break your house rules.
  • An extenuating circumstance, such as declared emergencies and epidemics, certain natural disasters or government travel restrictions.

If you host using Instant Book, you may be able to cancel for additional valid reasons.

Airbnb says it may suspend or deactivate listings from hosts with three or more cancellations in a year.