Airbnb

Airbnb is an online payment platform that connects potential guests with ‘Hosts’ who wish to rent their home as holiday accommodation.

The Host must follow Airbnb’s policy, but the contract for the accommodation is between you the guest and the Host.

Avoiding scams

  • Never send the Host money outside of the Airbnb website, for example through email, via bank transfer or a third-party booker. This may be fraudulent – if you have already made the payment let Airbnb know immediately and check that your reservation has in fact been made.
  • You will sometimes need to pay a local tax to your Host, but this should also be processed via the Airbnb website, but many times this is included in the full reservation cost.
  • If you have your suspicions about any contact made by a Host – report this to Airbnb.
  • Never share your email address before a booking is accepted, and be wary of emails claiming to be from Airbnb.
  • Paying an communicating via the Airbnb website helps ensure you are protected under their Terms of Service, Payments Terms of Service, cancellation policies, Host Guarantee, Host Protection Insurance and other safeguards they have in place.  
  • A couple of scams to watch out for are:
    Phishing scams – designed to trick you into following a link that looks like it takes you to Airbnb’s website, or another trusted site. This scam will try to get you to share personal or financial information, passwords, or other email addresses on your device. It may also be a way of spreading malicious software.
    Travel scam – you are offered a great deal on a reservation if you send a deposit using a wire transfer such as Western Union, Money Gram etc. Your money is then taken and no reservation is made.

How to complain

All complaints about your accommodation should be made through your Airbnb account. In the first instance complain to the Host to give them the opportunity to put things right.

The next step would be to contact Airbnb directly. To submit a valid claim for your reservation, Airbnb require you to:

  • Contact Airbnb within 24 hours of check-in to document the issue and place a hold on the host's payment. Include photographs or other evidence of the issue as part of your claim.
  • Be responsive to Airbnb’s requests for additional information and cooperation.
  • Not have directly or indirectly caused the issue.
  • Have used reasonable efforts to resolve the issue with the Host prior to making a claim, including messaging your Host on Airbnb to notify them of the issue.

After the 24 hour period, all complaints should go through the Airbnb’s Resolution Centre (www.airbnb.co.uk/resolutions.)
If you are not happy with the response from Airbnb, contact Consumerline on 0300 123 6262 or visit: www.nidirect.gov.uk/consumerline

Airbnb: Extenuating Circumstances Policy and the coronavirus (COVID-19)

Reservations made on or before the 14th March 2020

  • Reservations for Airbnb stays or experiences made on or before the 14th of March 2020, with a check-in date within the next 45 days from today, may be cancelled before check-in. This means that guests who cancel under the policy will receive a full cash refund or travel credit in the amount they paid (where travel credit is available), hosts can cancel under the policy without charge or they might impact their superhost status, and Airbnb will either refund, or issue travel credit in an amount that includes, all service fees.
  • Reservations for stays and Airbnb experiences made on or before the 14th march 2020, with a check in date more than 45 days from today, are not currently covered for Covid-19 related extenuating circumstances. The host’s cancellation policy will apply as usual. 
  • If a reservation has already begun (check-in has passed), this extenuating circumstance does not apply.

Reservation made after the 14th March 2020

  • Reservations for Airbnb experiences and stays made after the 14th of March 2020 will not be covered under our extenuating circumstances policy, except where the guest or host is currently sick with Covid-19. Covid-19-related circumstances not covered: : transport disruptions and cancellations; travel advisories and restrictions; health advisories and quarantines; changes to applicable law; and other government mandates such as evacuation orders, border closures, prohibitions on short-term rentals, and lockdown requirements. The host’s cancellation policy will apply as usual.
  • Our extenuating circumstances policy is there to protect guests and hosts from unforeseen circumstances that arise after booking. After the declaration of Covid-19 as a global Pandemic by the World Health Organization, the extenuating circumstances policy no longer applies because COVID-19 and its consequences are no longer unforeseen or unexpected.
  • Remember to carefully review the host’s cancellation policy when booking and consider choosing an option that provides flexibility.

For further information see Airbnb's coronavirus policy.