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The amount of refund depends on how long before they were to arrive. If it was 60 days or more, then I would refund total amount that you got from them. If it was 30 days or less, I would keep one half of deposit.
You need to have a cancellation policy in writing. This is what is in my contract:
A ninety (90) day notice is required for cancellation. Cancellations that are made more than ninety (90) days prior to the arrival date will incur no penalty except if deposits were made via credit card, which would be $50. Cancellations/changes that result in a shortened stay, that are made within 30-90 days of the arrival date, forfeit 50% of the rental and deposit unless we are able to re-book exact days. No refunds within 30 days unless we are able to re-book exact days. You may choose to purchase travel insurance separately.
On monthly rentals there is no refund on my contracts. If you change your mind on a monthly rental I wish you the best of luck and have dinner on you and thank you for your business. Sound harsh? I have been doing this for 40 years and will tell you if the shoe was on the other foot they wouldn't care. I have a long term tenant now who doesn't know it but his lease will not be extended. Why? Because he's an annoying nitwit constantly complaining about everything. The last tenants were there for four years and never complained about anything. Before he moved in we completely updated the unit. Since then he feels it's his mission to be annoying. His lease is up in December and one of two things will happen at that point: $200 a month increase or he can go annoy someone else. On another note, your refund policies should be in writing and should have milestones that are set in concrete.
I charge a 15% non-refundable fee/deposit no matter what. This covers my time, credit card fees etc. This 15% is applied to the final bill which is due 30-60 days(depending on length of stay) prior to arrival. If they do cancle, I am happy to apply their 15% towards their next stay.
If it's within' the 30-60 days, the refund is based on what I can re-book.
I feel that this is reasonable and I have slept better at night with the policy in place. It's a small administrative fee for an often large request.