Sale of house

in
Houston, TX
Level 1
15,079 Views

We've paid dearly for a large house for a week in another country, for six family flying in months in the future.  Now we see that host has the house listed for sale.  Sure it might not sell by then, but why must we bear all that risk?  If it sells, which is quite possible, we will have to cover huge premium costs to stay elsehere, possibly on short notice, possibly worse accomodations.  Why can't we supersede the Strict cancellation policy, get all our money back while we still have time to get an adequate competitive substititute elsewhere?

26 Replies

Re: Sale of house

in
Bragg Creek, Canada
Level 10

Hi @David993 That is a definite worry & shouldn't be your problem to sort out. The host needs to be pro-active here & delist the house, cancel all the bookings & concentrate on the sale rather than living precariously with bookings which he/she may or may not be able to honour. If it sells, and in the event the new owner wants to continue listing the house with Airbnb, they will have to delete the listing from one profile to add it to the other and the current bookings will not transfer.

 

Your best best is to contact Airbnb, get your booking cancelled and find another, more stable booking. When you explain what's happening, Airbnb is unlikely to dock you the cancellation fees as this is not your fault, it's the fault of the host. All the ways to contact Airbnb are HERE. I think Twitter gets the fastest response these days. Best in getting this resolved & quickly - Karen

Re: Sale of house

in
Paris, France
Level 10

That must be worrying for you, @David993.

By coincidence, there is just another thread in the host section, of a host wanting to sell his property with the attached bookings. Or at least find a way to make it easy for the new owner and the guests already booked, to transfer their booking on the new owner and stay with the place. 

Did you contact the host? Does he search a buyer, who will live there himself or is it an investment sale, where the new owner may be happy to get the guests with the property. 

If he looks for an owner who wants to live there, he should either make a commitment that the bookings will be honored or accept a cancellation without costs. You should not bear the risk, if he sells or does not sell, as you have no influence on that. 

It seems particularly unfair to bind the guest with a strict policy, if he wants to use all options. 

Good luck!

Re: Sale of house

in
Houston, TX
Level 1

thank you Helga and Karen for your replies. yes I contacted the host, who assures me they don't plan to close a sale before our stay. but their intent or email doesn't increase their liability to me under AirBnB rules. regardless of what they now plan, that has nothing to do with what some as-yet-unknown buyer wants to do with the house and its bookings, and no guest should count on a seller to turn down over 8000 times the AirBnB $100 penalty for cancelling bookings. and if it sells, I could pay much more on short notice to find another comparable place to stay, not to mention six international airfares. so, here is my suggestion to AirBnB: change the rules such that whenever they hear of and verify that a host listed their property for sale, a) the cancellation policy for at-risk bookings is changed from strict to easy, and b) the host must deposit 50% of the rent for each booking to be held by AirBnB just as the guests' rent is held, as a bond to guarantee performance. if the property is sold, that goes towards any premium cost incurred by the guest if the host cancels. if the host doesn't cancel then that deposit gets refunded when the prepaid rent is paid.

Re: Sale of house

in
Como, CO
Level 10

@David993 You can post suggestions for changes in Host Voice.

David

Re: Sale of house

in
Paris, France
Level 10

@David993,

if I understand you correctly, your host assured you that your stay will not be affected by the sale of the house. Sales usually take some time and if he had no bites yet on his offer, he may be quite sure of it. 

He may also be an honest person and intend to hand over the place not before a given date anyway, because of you, because of him needing to find a place for his furniture first or for many other reasons. 

Nevertheless , you wish to cancel for free. 

It seems there is nothing your host could do or  say to reassure you: you wish to cancel. 

Your suggestions to shoft the risk of an unforeseen event to hosts are pretty far reaching: 

you paid with the booking, but the host gets paid only after your arrival anyway. To make matters even stricter, you suggest, that every host, for every booking, deposits 50% of the rent, maybe for months ahead? Seems an absurd notion to me. Most hosts won't have that kind of money, could not finance half their turnover interest free for weeks or months and would simply leave the platform. 

If you are so worried, you should book classic hotel stays. Airbnb is a way to share, people share their homes and the prices are lower. The risk is shared as well. Not equally though, it's already vry much in favour of guests. 

Re: Sale of house

in
Como, CO
Level 10

@Helga0

 

It would be extremely rare that a Guest would know a Host had the property for sale.

David

Re: Sale of house

in
Paris, France
Level 10

Yeah, @David126, if a guest is extraordinarly precautious in his checks or looking for a better deal after booking, he could find that out...

 

Re: Sale of house

in
Houston, TX
Level 1

Helga thanks for weighing in again.  I'd suggest studying Karen's prior reply and I'd encourage others to opine here.  I don't for a minute suspect my host is dishonest but why should they reject a good offer to sell if it arrives?  Why should any guest have to gamble that a luxury house in another country won't sell by a time prepaid for, months away?  I'm not suggesting this is any unforeseeon event like a fire flood or earthquake - surely you see a difference, i.e. that a sale in repsonse to a public listing on the MLS is far more likely than a natural disaster and is deliberate, profitable and surely likely in due course.  The host is offering a realtor 6% to cause the house to very likely become unavailable, when their only liability for accepting an offer from a buyer is to pay a $100 penatly for each discarded guest, and they cash out their house altogether.  So, lets see what the community consensus is.  If hosts want maximum flexibility, what's wrong with their simply being liable for the consequences of their more profitble choices?   if not a 50% deposit (analagous to the guests 50% risk of cancelling for convenience) then why not a lot more than $100?  Is selling a house and causing planned guests to loose much more really something that should be so painless for hosts.  What if a host were to list on VRBO for more, and simply quit guests who'd prepaid less?  or if they simply quit prepaid guests because rates went way up?   $100 is unfairly low.

Re: Sale of house

in
Paris, France
Level 10

@David993, you don't say in which country you booked. In European countries that I know, it's probable that selling a proberty takes between 6 month and 2 years - 6 month, if the price was realistic at the beginning. 

I would cancel for death (mine) and hospitalisation, can't think of any other reason besides natural disasters, but nevertheless, I would not say, that any booking is ever safe. I don't take long time in advance bookings any more, as it's to complicated to plan around them. 

100 Euros weigh differently for hosts renting at 40 or 600 a night, a percentage would seem fairer, but even so, they add up for an high priced host too, when they cancel several bookings. 

Besides, it drops the listing down in the search rank, so the main punishment is not the penalty money, but the "host cancelled" remarks on the profile. These cancellation remarks would stay with your host, if he lists another property later and his new property would be listed far down, behind all the competition. It's hard to build an airbnb reputation and most hosts would prefer to rent more via airbnb than via other platforms. No reasonable host would cancel a stay on airbnb, let's say rented for 1000, in favor of a vrbo booking for 1200 and believe he made 100 in profit. He will loose hundreds later by loosing airbnb bookings. If you book from an experienced host, you can forget this idea. 

Re: Sale of house

in
Ottawa, Canada
Level 2

David,
What was the ultimate outcome of this situation? Thanks, Elizabeth

Re: Sale of house

in
London, Canada
Level 1

I am in the same situation, I saw the house I am renting for sale also. The host is saying it’s not so I sent him the link. Now I wonder what I should do also 

Re: Sale of house

in
Houston, TX
Level 1

In my case I got the host (pending seller) to commit in writing they would not close a sale before my visit, and I shared that doc with the listing agent and on the AirBnB portal in case of future dispute. (there was none, it didn't sell until six months after our stay).    I'd also suggest pre-planning to cover yourself, i.e. if the owner/host gets a great offer they will be incented to take it regardless of intent beforehand.  You should envision your losses (e.g. net extra cost to move to another comparable place) and share that total consequence, the potential cost at risk.    and lobby AirBnB to change their terms to mitigate these risks....so far they are too owner-friendly not guest-friendly in this regard.   Good luck

Re: Sale of house

in
Houston, TX
Level 1

That is something that needs to change!  It's outrageous for a renter to be blindsided by an event that they can be easily forewarned of.  

Re: Sale of house

in
Montrose, CO
Level 2

Could be rare for some guests.

However for other guests, perhaps repeat guests or those considering a purchase in the area this won't be at all surprising. 

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