How to Get a Refund from a Rental Home Host

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Traveling has always been complicated, but the coronavirus pandemic has made it harder than ever. Our By The Way Concierge column will put your travel dilemmas to the experts to help you navigate the new normal. Want to see the answer to your question? submit it here.

I booked a rental property months ago for a big family vacation next month. Two weeks before the trip I received a call from the rental company that the owners were tearing up the deck and it might not be done when we arrived. Not to mention workers may be there while we stay on the property. Outdoor space was a main reason we booked the property, and no other comparable listing is currently available. What are we entitled to and how should we seek compensation? This is the second time that I have had a problem with a rental that does not correspond to what is advertised. – Anonymous

It looks like a mess; what a way to start your best summer vacation! I have submitted your issue to a large number of vacation rental operators and other experts for advice. The good news: a reputable management company should catch up with you. The bad news: Not all management companies are reputable.

Making repairs during a guest’s stay can be unavoidable, especially with demand for rentals soaring, says Jeremy Gall, CEO and co-founder of the vacation rental property maintenance platform. Walkway. Even so, managers or professional hosts should have systems down to minimize these surprises.

Your first step is to contact the property manager. Mike Slone, owner a travel agency and two vacation rental properties in Maine, says to ask the host why the property won’t be as advertised, giving them the opportunity to explain and correct the problem. Get this conversation in writing.

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Steve Turk, CEO of Turkish hospitality Companiesrecommends taking screenshots of each exchange in case you need to provide proof to a booking platform or your credit card company.

Your next step is to review the terms of your rental agreement to see if you have any protections. These conditions should be available on their website or in your booking confirmation.

If it wasn’t a safety issue or an emergency repair, Luca Zambello, CEO of the hotel technology company Jury, indicates that the host should have scheduled the build when the unit was unoccupied. With this disappointment, you should not expect to pay the same amount for your reservation.

“It’s possible, however, that they’re offering nothing more than apologies and earplugs,” says Zambello, who is also an Airbnb Superhost.

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If there wasn’t a clear policy at the time of booking or payment, “issues like this are a complete gray area,” says Chris Cerra, founder of RemoteBase, a monthly newsletter about rental discounts for telecommuters and digital nomads. They may be within their rights to refuse your refund request.

Turk says management can argue that the property is habitable and a safe place to sleep. “Some companies won’t be as hospitable and will go out of their way to not give you your money back,” he says.

Experts say it’s normal for the rental company to offer you a comparable property in their portfolio that suits your vacation dates. Of course, that might be impossible. In this case, says Gall, compensation will vary by provider, but you should be entitled to some sort of upgrade, partial or full refund, and/or credit for a future stay.

If you decide to keep your reservation, Larry Snider, Vice President of Operations for Holiday rentalsindicates that you can negotiate a better price with the host.

Whether it’s a deep discount or a refund, ask for the specific compensation you want and detail the consequences of the unadvertised situation on your reservation, such as construction noise management, the fact workers staying on the property or being unable to use an outdoor space as promised.

“More often than not, they’ll be willing to negotiate a discount so they don’t lose you as a guest,” Snider says. “Losing you would require them to advertise the property with full disclosure of the construction status, which would likely result in the inability to get new clients booked.”

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It’s reasonable to be upset about your situation, but lashing out could do more harm than good, says longtime Airbnb superhost Dan Driscoll, now co-founder of the vacation rental platform. Shop.

“The threat of bad reviews or legal action will shut down all other parties and diminish the guest’s credibility,” Driscoll says.

Instead, try to convey that you’re not angry, you’re disappointed. Be reasonable but clear that something was promised and is not being delivered.

“Or in other words, give the host the benefit of the doubt and treat them the way you’d like to be treated,” Driscoll says. “A little courtesy on either side goes a long way.”

Cera agrees. If you’re dealing with a small agency, “appeal to the human side of the agent or emphasize the importance of doing honest business,” says Cerra. “I hope they can see that solving this problem is just a small step towards your return next season.”

If none of this works, Marcus Rader, CEO and co-founder of vacation rental software company Hostaway, says to check if the credit card you used to pay for the rental offers some sort of travel insurance. He may have coverage for your exact situation. Your home insurance or even your benefits could also be.

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