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Patrick H.
Patrick H., Lawyer
Category: Australia Law
Satisfied Customers: 5422
Experience:  Dip Law LPAB - Sydney based lawyer
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I have booked and paid the deposit on a holiday rental

Customer Question

Hi,I have booked and paid the deposit on a holiday rental through a Sunshine Coast holiday rental company. The owners of the property now wish to use the property on the dates I have booked and my booking has been cancelled. Do I have an rights legally in this situation?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Australia Law
Expert:  Patrick H. replied 1 year ago.

Do you have a contract with the company you booked through or the owner, and what does it say about the rights of parties to cancel?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I have written confirmation of the accepted booking and even check-in details even though the booking is for December 2016! The Terms and Conditions only detail what happens if I cancel,nothing else.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
The booking is for 28/12/2016 - 04/01/2017.
The deposit paid and confirmed 12/01/2016.
I have an email from the booking company stating the owners "believe" they had reserved the property for 3 weeks over the Christmas period.
The booking company say their hands are tied and there is nothing they can do to help.
There has obviously been some miscommunication between the owners and the booking company for which I am being penalised despite my prompt payment of deposit to secure the property 11 months in advance!
Expert:  Patrick H. replied 1 year ago.

I will have an answer for you either tonight or tomorrow as to your options, so please be patient.


Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hi Patrick,Do you have any news for me?
Expert:  Patrick H. replied 1 year ago.

Legally you probably have a case either against the booking agency for compensation of the owners of the property for breach of contract, which depends on whether or not the booking agency are actually agents of the owners, or have purported to rent the property to you without proper authority. That will be a question for the court should you bring proceedings.

You can bring a claim against the booking agency and/or the owners in the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal, which you can read about here:

and even if you are out of state yourself such an application can be conducted remotely by teleconference.

You might also be entitled to bring local proceedings in your own state's tribunal or court for dealing with such matters, but it does raise jurisdictional issues and create a risk that such proceedings would be thrown out if the tribunal/court later decides that they proceedings should properly be brought only in Queensland. This question turns on a technical analysis of the circumstances of the booking and it is not possible for me to categorically say that such an approach will work in your case, so if you wan to play it safe, filing a claim in the Queensland Tribunal is the way to go.

If you do take them before the tribunal, and assuming you succeed in your claim, you would likely be awarded your deposit back and an amount reflecting the cost of alternate accomodation in the area, if you wish to pursue such an option. Alternately, if your claim against the owner's succeeds, the tribunal might order specific performance, whereby the owners would be ordered to make their property available as per your booking, although that will depend on whether you are asking for that and whether the matter can be determined in a time frame that would allow that to be a practical solution (such an order would be pointless if the tribunal process won't be concluded before the contemplated holiday dates, which is a possibility since the tribunal process is not always simple or quick).

No doubt you will need to consider whether bringing such a claim is actually worth the effort. In practice it may be that provided you can get your deposit back, you would be better off making alternate arrangements for your holiday and simply not doing further business with the agency.

I appreciate this may not be the answer you were hoping for, but it is the way the law applies to your situation.