Had to Cancel due to Air Quality in Australia

Our Airbnb host is not honoring the stated policy of 60 days’ notice for a cancellation. We gave him notice today. Our check in date is April 22, 2020. That’s over 80 days’ notice.

I have health issues (asthma) that do not allow me and my wife to travel to Sydney, Australia because of the air quality; it is the worst it has ever been. According to the Australian government, these brush fires will continue through May. We are in our late 60s and our doctor has advised us not to travel to Sydney.

There is now the second concern of the Coronavirus. Many airports are not allowing unrestricted travel. The host wants to charge us $1800 for cancelling, based on a $3300 total. This seems to be excessive based on the requirements of a 60-day notice that was given to the host. Further information will be given when Airbnb contacts me at my email.

Posted in Airbnb Guest Stories and tagged , , , , , .


  1. As a host I had a similar cancellation with request for full refunds in the Big Sur Soberanes fire.
    The policy has been the same for years, as Edwina explains, with 50% refund less fees for this type of cancellation unless the roads are closed at time of check in. Sydney is a coastal city and is very likely to have better air quality than inland areas even if some fire were still occurring. Travelers need to remember that these hosts and communities in disaster areas need business more than ever after these events. Having a nearby park close or fear of epidemics is not a valid reason to flake out on a host! This kind of behavior is taking advantage of a host in a desperate situation.

  2. Sorry to hear. With such an advance notice I don’t understand why the website doesn’t accept the cancellation with full refund? As a host, I don’t see why 60 whole days in advance wouldn’t get you this.

  3. BTW, the ‘host’ isn’t charging you the cancellation fee, Airbnb is. Also, there is no Airbnb cancellation term with a 60 day limit. Are you sure you booked via Airbnb?

    If a booking with Strict cancellation terms is cancelled any time earlier than 7 days prior to check in, the guest will receive a refund of 50% of the Accommodation Fee. However, Airbnb’s Service Fee will not be refunded. In your case, the $3,300 you paid comprises a Service Fee of $430 and an Accommodation Fee of $2,870. Therefore, you are entitled to a refund of 50% x $2,870, which is $1,435. You will lose $1,865, of which the Host will receive $1,392 and Airbnb $473.

    If you find these cancellation terms unfair, then you probably shouldn’t have accepted them in the first place. You entered into a legally binding contract of your own volition. You now wish to break this contract, and there are consequences for doing so. You have no grounds for complaint nor any reasonable basis for any further compensation.

    • The cancellation policy is not being honored. They are canceling 80 days prior when only 60 days are required before check in. That is the contract that should be honored. Not sure what you are talking about?

      • Given that the complainant hasn’t stated which cancellation policy applies to this booking, i.e. Flexible, Moderate, Strict, Long Term, Super Strict 30, Super Strict 60 -it’s not possible to know exactly what time period is required.

        However, only under the Super Strict 60 is a period of 60 days stipulated, so I’m assuming those terms apply. However, note that even under the Strict and Super Strict 30 cancellation policies, a cancellation 80 days out would have identical consequences.

        The refund under Super Strict 60, Super Strict 30 and Strict cancellation terms for a cancellation 80 days prior is exactly as I’ve calculated in my previous post.

        Therefore the cancellation policy IS being honoured, the terms of the contract to which the guest agreed ARE being applied and the consequences to the guest are exactly as set down in the contract.

        I hope I’ve made myself clear.

  4. The air quality in Sydney today is fine. Who knows what it will be like in May. You take the risk of a natural disaster or disease outbreak happening months in the future where ever you travel. That’s why we have travel insurance!

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