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Paying Fees after Cancellation

Shalom Kvod Harav,
I would like to ask about the following situation. I recently reserved an apartment with an online provider that pairs up travelers with hosts with available short-term rentals. The provider then takes a fee.
The host has informed me that he is relocating and will no longer be able to rent out the apartment short term. He asked me to cancel with the provider for him, since apparently the fees for the host canceling are quite high. I understand the situation is a little out of the ordinary, and in principle am willing to cancel. However, on the web site there are instructions not to cancel for the other party.
The online cancellation form does have a space asking for reasons to cancel.
If it makes a difference, the host is Jewish (in Israel). I don’t know about the owners of the website.
One other thing to mention is that in making the reservation, I was acting on behalf of my parents; (ie I made the reservation with their consent).
My questions:
1. Am I (on behalf of my parents) allowed to cancel with the website even though it was at the hosts behest?
2. Do I have to specify that the cancellation was on the behest of the host (Which will likely cause him to have to pay more fees).
[I am asking these questions because on the one hand, we might be causing the operators of the site to lose money (since they will charge the host for canceling more than they will charge us) on the other hand, on the other hand if we insist that the host cancels, we are possibly being “tzadikim with someone else’s money” so I am not sure what to do.]
3. The amount we (ie my parents) paid is refundable minus a service fee. If we are allowed to cancel ourselves, can we ask the host for the service fee to be refunded?

I thank the Rav very much for his time.


You can cancel with the provider, but as the “reason for cancellation” you should write down the true reason, i.e. you host’s cancelling of the deal.

Although this might cause him a charge, this is not being “pious with other people’s money,” but simply being honest and fulfilling your obligations vis-a-vis the provider, who you are under agreement with.

I understand that the cost the host will pay may be related to the reimbursement payment, but this is not for you do deliberate about. It is up to you to deal honestly with the provider that you are under agreement with, and if you wish to then re-compensate the host (for his loss) with the reimbursement payment, you can do so.

If you will also incur a loss due to the cancellation (e.g. a non-refundable service fee) you could in principle claim this from the host (see Shut Chavas Yair no. 168; Shut Rabbi Akiva Eiger no. 134).

Best wishes.

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