Extenuating Circumstances Policy
Note: This article does not address circumstances related to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Review our COVID-19 extenuating circumstances article to learn about coverage of COVID-19-related circumstances, and in particular the coverage limitations for reservations made after 14 March 2020.
This policy applies to check-ins on or before 19 January 2021. For check-ins after that date, the updated policy found below will apply.
Effective until: 19 January 2021
How it works
We may be able to give you a refund or waive the cancellation penalties if you have to cancel because of an unexpected circumstance that’s out of your control. Below is a list of circumstances covered by our Extenuating Circumstances Policy. Before you cancel, check that your circumstance is included in the list below and that you can provide the required documentation.
It’s important to keep in mind that penalty-free cancellations are only available for extenuating circumstances that occur before the official check-in date for your reservation. Additionally, our Extenuating Circumstances Policy doesn’t apply to Luxe or Luxury Retreats reservations, which are subject to a separate Luxe Guest Refund Policy.
Circumstances that require documentation
Death of a host, guest, or their co-host, additional guest, immediate family member, or caregiver. You’ll be asked to provide one of these documents:
- Death certificate
- News article naming the deceased
- Police report
Unexpected serious illness or injury affecting a host or member of the travelling party. You’ll be asked to provide a statement from a doctor confirming that the person can't host or travel due to an unexpected serious illness or injury. The statement must also be dated after the reservation was made and provided within 14 days of cancellation. At this time, pre-existing conditions known to the user at the time of booking are not covered by our Extenuating Circumstances Policy.
Government-mandated obligations including jury duty, travel restrictions, court appearances, and military deployment. You'll be asked to provide a copy of the official notice dated after the reservation was made, including the name of the person fulfilling the obligation.
Unforeseen property damage, maintenance, and amenity issues to the Airbnb listing that make it unsafe to host guests, or that prevent guests from accessing basic amenities like running water. This doesn’t include planned renovations. You’ll be asked to provide all of the following documents:
- Proof that the issue is being fixed
- An estimate of when it will be fixed
- An invoice for the repairs being done
- Photos of the damage
Transport disruptions that make it impossible to travel to your destination, including road closures and flight cancellations where there are no alternative methods of travel. This includes closures and cancellations caused by natural disasters, such as earthquakes or severe storms. You’ll be asked to provide a notice of the road closure, or documentation from the airline that the flight was cancelled as well as supporting documentation confirming that it's not possible to travel to your destination.
Train, bus, or ferry cancellations where no alternative trips were available on the same day. You’ll be asked to provide documentation that clearly shows that the transport operator was not providing services on that day, such as a screenshot of the company’s website or a link to an official statement from the operator.
Circumstances that require special review
There’s no required documentation for these circumstances, but our specialised team will review each case to confirm that you’re directly affected.
Open Homes reservations that have been cancelled. More info about Open Homes.
Natural disasters, terrorist activity, and civil/political unrest that prevent the guest from travelling to or from the destination, or that make it unsafe to host guests.
Epidemic disease or illness that suddenly affects a region or an entire group of people. This doesn’t include existing diseases that are associated with an area – for example, malaria in Thailand or dengue fever in Hawaii. Any updates to our policy regarding the outbreak of a disease, and the scope of policy application, will be determined based on announcements by the World Health Organization and local authorities.
Travel restrictions imposed by a government, law enforcement agency, or military that restrict travel to or from the listing or experience location.
Safety and security threat advisories issued for the listing or experience location or the guest party’s departure location.
Essential utility outages that affect the listing or experience location.
Changes to visa or passport requirements that make it impossible to travel to the destination. This doesn’t include lost or expired travel documents.
What to do next
If you’ve confirmed your circumstance meets the requirements above, first cancel your homes reservation or Airbnb Experience. If your reservation falls under a recognised extenuating circumstance, you’ll be notified that your reservation qualifies for a penalty-free cancellation, and you’ll get a full refund if you’re a guest.
If your reservation doesn't qualify automatically, continue cancelling your reservation and then contact us to file a claim. We’ll walk you through the next steps, which will include submitting any required documentation and waiting for our team to review your case. Claims must be submitted within 14 days of cancellation.
Note: The Extenuating Circumstances Policy below applies to all check-ins on or after 20 January 2021. For all check-ins before 20 January 2021, the existing Policy above will continue to apply. Application of this Policy to COVID-19 will not change when the new Policy comes into effect on 20 January 2021, and most COVID-19-related circumstances will continue to be excluded.
Extenuating Circumstances Policy
Effective date: 20 January 2021
This Extenuating Circumstances Policy explains how cancellations are handled when unforeseen events beyond your control arise after booking and make it impracticable or illegal to complete your reservation. This Policy applies to reservations for both accommodation and Experiences.
When this Policy allows for cancellation, it controls and takes precedence over the reservation’s cancellation policy. Guests that are affected by an event covered by this Policy can cancel their reservation and receive, depending on the circumstances, a cash refund, travel credit, and/or other consideration. Hosts that are affected by an event covered by this Policy can cancel without adverse consequences. However, depending on the circumstances, their calendars may be blocked for the dates of the cancelled reservation.
What events are covered
This Policy uses the term “Event” to refer to the following situations that occur after booking, are unforeseen at the time of booking, and prevent or legally prohibit completion of the reservation.
Changes to government travel requirements. Unexpected changes to visa or passport requirements imposed by a governmental agency that prevent travel to the destination. This doesn’t include lost or expired travel documents or other personal circumstances relating to a guest’s authorisation to travel.
Declared emergencies and epidemics. Government-declared local or national emergencies, epidemics, pandemics, and public health emergencies. This does not include diseases that are endemic or commonly associated with an area – for example, malaria in Thailand or dengue fever in Hawaii.
Government travel restrictions. Travel restrictions imposed by a governmental agency that prevent or prohibit travelling to, staying at, or returning from the Listing location. This does not include non-binding travel advisories and similar government guidance.
Military actions and other hostilities. Acts of war, hostilities, invasions, civil war, terrorism, explosions, bombings, rebellions, riots, insurrection, civil disorder, and civil unrest.
Natural disasters. Natural disasters, acts of God, large-scale outages of essential utilities, volcanic eruptions, tsunamis, and other severe and abnormal weather events. This does not include weather or natural conditions that are common enough to be foreseeable in that location – for example, hurricanes occurring during hurricane season in Florida.
What is not covered
Everything else. This Policy only allows for cancellations for the Events described above. Everything else is excluded. Examples of situations that this Policy does not allow cancellations for include: unexpected disease, illness, or injury; government obligations like jury duty, court appearances or military duties; travel advisories or other government guidance (that fall short of a travel ban or prohibition); cancellation or rescheduling of an event for which the reservation was made; and transport disruptions unrelated to a covered Event like road closures, as well as flight, train, bus and ferry cancellations. If you cancel a reservation in these cases, the amount refunded will be determined by the cancellation policy that applies to the reservation.
What to do next
If we notify you or publish information confirming that this Policy applies to your reservation, please follow the cancellation instructions that we provide. When we have notified you or published information regarding how this Policy applies, you should have the option to cancel under this Policy by going to your Trips page and cancelling the affected reservation. If you believe this Policy applies to your reservation, but we have not notified you or published information about the Event, please contact us to cancel your reservation. In all cases, you should be prepared to provide documentation that shows how the Event has affected you or your reservation.
If you have questions, please contact us.
Other things to be aware of
This Policy applies to all reservations with a check-in date on or after the effective date. This Policy doesn’t apply to Luxe reservations, which are subject to a separate Luxe Guest Refund Policy.