AN AIRBNB property manager has cancelled all bookings for the year and lost thousands of pounds the process in order to protect neighbours who are at high risk of catching coronavirus.
Ling Law will lose tens of thousands of pounds from the drastic measure, but said she will hopefully protect elderly and low immunity residents who live nearby.
The 32-year-old previously managed ten Airbnb properties across Scotland, but decided to turn them into long term lets for families who were struggling to find somewhere to live.
Airbnb are currently giving guests full refunds on their reservations, but only on bookings for 14 April or earlier.
The drastic measure means that all the bookings that have been cancelled after that date will incur a £50 cancellation fee.
Ling, who lives in Edinburgh, said: “I’m from Hong Kong and always knew that the virus would be making its way over here so I started taking flats off Airbnb then.
“I took time to list everything for sale and then listed the flats for long term lets instead.
“I’ve had families in since around Valentine’s Day.
“Parents with young children were my priority first and I put in specifically that it doesn’t matter if they are on DSS.
“There was such an overwhelming demand and with what is happening I had to make sure that neighbours in the buildings were safe too.
“Some of them are elderly, very old, some with very young children and others with underlying health issues.
“I told tenants there would be a rent reduction and that’s even if they can’t pay.
Ling manages 36 properties across Scotland which are funded by investors across the world.
She said: “For bookings after 15th April we were booked right through the year, we were booked out all across Edinburgh over the festival too.
“We covered the £50 cancellation fee for all the bookings. It was 100’s on 100’s of pounds.
“It was £800 alone in cancellation fees for just our one bedroom property because we had 16 separate bookings.”
“People have been struggling with the housing market.
“The amount of Airbnb’s have shot up so people have been struggling to find somewhere to rent.
“It [has] cost me £1000’s in revenue not to mention the £50 per cancellation fee after mid April, but my mind sits on who is even able to travel and who is still wanting to travel to Edinburgh when the virus hasn’t even reached its peak.
“Social places and public places being closed too [and] not only that but I have to be weary of my neighbours and the residents in the same building who are of high risk.”
Airbnb state: “We are now offering Guests full refunds and Hosts no-charge cancellations for reservations booked on or before 14 March with a check-in date of 14 April or earlier.
“Please note that this policy will not cover any new bookings.”