Can I Cancel My Airbnb Due to COVID-19 Without Penalties?

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Companies across the country are developing policies in response to the novel COVID-19 virus. Airbnb is no different. The ripple effect of bar and restaurant closings, hotel and resort closings, and “Stay At Home” orders across the country has led to blanket trip cancellations during the popular spring travel season.

Airbnb’s cancellation policy in response to COVID -19 can be broken down into two scenarios: (#1) reservations made before March 14, 2020, and (#2) reservation made after March 14, 2020.

1. Reservations made before March 14, 2020 and Check-Ins March 14-April 14, 2020

Both hosts and guests may cancel an Airbnb reservation booked prior to March 14, 2020 with check in between March 14 and April 14, 2020. Both parties may initiate the cancellation and will receive full refunds. None of the usual cancellation penalties will apply.

Special Note to Hosts

If you are a host, you must cancel a reservation before your guest(s) check in to qualify under this new COVID-19 policy. If you do not cancel the reservation before your guest(s) check-in date, the standard cancellation policy and penalties will apply.

As a host if you do not intend to rent during the COVID-19 crisis it is in your best interest to cancel now. These cancellations should not impact hosts’ Superhost status and Airbnb will refund all service fees.


Reservations made on or before March 14, 2020 with check in dates after April 14, 2020 do not qualify for penalty-free cancellations under Airbnb’s extenuating circumstances policy.

Although, this penalty-free cancellation period is currently only applicable to reservations with check-in dates between March 14 and April 14, 2020, Airbnb urges hosts to keep checking for updates.

2. Reservations made after March 14, 2020

In general, all reservations booked after March 14, 2020 will not qualify for penalty-free refunds under Airbnb’s extenuating circumstances policy. The host’s cancellation policy will apply as usual.

Airbnb’s extenuating circumstances policy was created for “unforeseen or unexpected” situations. Airbnb disqualifies reservations made after the CDC declared COVID-19 a global health crisis.

Are there any exceptions?

Yes. If a host or potential guest have contracted COVID-19 then Airbnb’s extenuating circumstances policy may apply regardless of when the reservation was made and the check in date.

Airbnb also has stated that hosts who wish to cancel a reservation because of COVID-19 may if they communicate with the guest directly and both the host and guest agree to cancel. If both the host and guest agree to cancel, then Airbnb’s cancellation penalties are waived. If the guest does not agree however, the penalties will still apply.


Unless a host or potential guest(s) are currently sick with COVID-19 all reservations booked after March 14, 2020 and all reservations booked with a check-in date after April 14, 2020 are not covered under Airbnb’s extenuating circumstances policy. If Airbnb’s COVID-19 policy does not apply, then hosts are responsible for assuming the standard host cancellation policy. If hosts wish to suspend rentals during the COVID-19 crisis, it is best to remove or suspend a listing from Airbnb.

Read more here.

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