“My owners are honouring bookings for a later date or giving refunds, even though their agreements [with tenants] state they are not required to issue a refund,” she said.
Ms Thompson-King said at least three owners were significantly out of pocket having already moved out and prepared their homes for holiday bookings over Christmas.
“I had one owner who moved out for three weeks and another for five weeks,” she said. “I went through all of this during the lockdown at Easter. But again it is uncharted waters. We are taking it on a case by case basis, speaking to each guest about how they want to handle it.”
David Edwards, principal agent for LJ Hooker Palm Beach manages around 150 homes across the northern beaches during the December period and said health was the priority for all property owners and guests.
“I would say 80-90 per cent of our bookings have been cancelled, of those due to come in the next three days,” he said. “We will review it again Wednesday.”
Mr Edwards said full refunds and date changes were being offered to all guests. “We’ve just got to be flexible. The reality is if people can’t get here, they can’t get here.”
At Narrabeen’s NRMA BIG4 Holiday Park, caravanning holidaymakers were told they had until 5pm on Saturday to arrive for bookings before the public health order kicked in.
The caravan park on the northern beaches region and has the capacity to take up to 1200 people. About 100 permanent residents live on site, while there were already around 140 holidaymakers at the park on Saturday morning.
NRMA spokesman Peter Khoury said all amenities, including the pool and playground, had been shut down in response to the lockdown and the park would not accept any guests after 5pm.
“After that its effectively shut down until the lockdown lifts. We also had a number of people leave the park early on Saturday,” he said.
Mr Khoury said the NRMA was also responding to the health order by keeping the same road patrols within the northern beaches boundaries.
Airbnb head of public policy Derek Nolan said the platform was serious about supporting government measures and contacted its community regularly to remind them of the need to follow government advice.
On Airbnb some owners will provide no refund with less than one week notice and a 50 per cent refund outside that period.
A spokeswoman for holiday rental site Stayz said the platform did not have many properties on the northern beaches, with most homes in regional areas.
“We haven’t had any contacts made via social media to date as travellers are working directly with holiday homes owners to rebook or cancel.”
Minister for Better Regulation Kevin Anderson said the government had been working closely with consumer protection agencies to provide ongoing advice to consumers during the pandemic.
“It’s always best to contact the business directly in the first instance, and we’ve seen a lot of success in parties working together to reach a resolution that suits them both, for example postponements, credit and refunds,” he said.
Get our Coronavirus Update newsletter
Stay across the news you need to know related to the pandemic. Sent Monday and Thursday. Sign up here.
Lucy Cormack is a state political reporter with The
Sydney Morning Herald.