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Homestay T&Cs

Homestay Booking Confirmation

Bookings are only guaranteed after full payment, including the administration fee, has reached HFS London’s bank account. HFS London reserves the right to cancel any Homestay booking where payment has not been received by the due date.

Payments and Bank Charges for Homestay

All payments must be made in pounds sterling (GBP) as all our payments are invoiced in UK pound sterling.

All outstanding monies must be paid 7 days after invoice date or before visitor’s arrival, whichever is the sooner. This applies equally with all late Homestay reservations.

All payments must be made to HFS London directly and not the host family. All payments for extensions to Homestays must also be made to HFS London directly and not the host family.

HFS London will not pay for any bank charges. This also applies to any refunds payable to the visitor. Refunds for Homestay will be made in the same method that the payment was received and will be at HFS London’s discretion.

For Bank transfers, please add £10 to your payment to cover all bank charges in the UK. It is important that when making bank transfers to HFS London, you consult your bank with regards to any charges in your country that may be applicable. HFS London will not cover the bank charges from your country for any Homestay booked.

Arrival and Airport Transfers

It is essential that you contact your Host to inform them of your arrival time before your arrival date. If you fail to do this, HFS London cannot guarantee that your Host will be home at the time of your arrival to meet and greet you and in some cases, you may even have to wait outside until they arrive home.

If you have informed your Host about your arrival time and on the arrival day there are delays or disruptions that might cause you to arrive at your Homestay later than planned, please inform your Host as a matter of urgency. The Host may have arranged other plans on that day which might be affected by your late arrival, so it is important that you inform them of any delays.

If you arrive midweek or on a working day, it is very likely that the Host will not be home until later in the evening. You need to arrange your travel so you arrive at the homestay in the evening (suggested around 8pm).  If you arrive in London earlier, you will need to be prepared to wait till a reasonable time when the Host will be home.

If you intend to book flights meaning that you arrive at your homestay either (i) very early in the morning or (ii) very late at night, you should have informed HFS London before the homestay was been booked for you. If you inform us of this after your homestay has been confirmed, there might be occasions where your host is unable to accommodate you. You may then be required to find, and pay for, your own accommodation for a day or night.  HFS London may, depending on the time of year, be able to find an alternative homestay for you for one day or night.

The Host is not expected to collect students from the airport or at a pick-up point.  The only exception to this will be where HFS London has agreed this in advance with the Host and the student, usually at the time a booking is made.

Regarding airport transfers, HFS London will not accept responsibility where incorrect information regarding the arrival has been provided. HFS London will seek to recover all costs arising where incorrect information has been provided.

Regarding airport transfers, there will be no refund for all “no-show” bookings except where HFS London is clearly at fault for non-collection.

Movement of Visitors from Homestay

Where we receive a complaint from a host about a guest, we will investigate the matter with both sides. If we think that the situation is resolvable, we may set a period of time to assess if the situation improves. If the situation does not improve, we reserve the right to (i) relocate the guest or (ii) ask them to leave the homestay. If we ask a guest to leave the homestay, we will give the guest reasonable notice to vacate the homestay. Notice will take effect from the point that we formally ask the guest to vacate. When determining reasonable notice, we will take into consideration (i) the length of the original booking (ii) the length of time the guest has been in the home (iii) the nature of the complaint(s) raised. In a typical homestay booking, reasonable notice might be anything from 24 hours to 7 days, depending on the circumstances.

HFS London also reserves the right to (i) ask a guest to leave the homestay without notice and/or (ii) to refuse to accommodate/relocate a guest should their behaviour be deemed unacceptable. Examples of unacceptable behaviour might be threatening, abusive or illegal behaviour.

In all cases of dispute, HFS London reserves the right to have final say on the question of any refund.

Visitor Complaints about Homestay

Complaints must be made (i) at the time the issue(s) occur(s) and (ii) in writing to the Accommodation Officer who handled the booking, copying in as well. The complaint will be received by us within working hours (Monday to Friday 9.30am to 5.30pm, excluding public holidays).  We will respond to any post arrival complaint by guest within 24 working hours from receipt. We will call the host concerned as soon as possible to try to ascertain their perspective on the complaint. If we feel the issue is resolvable we will suggest that the host and guest talk through the issues directly. If not, and on hearing both sides we deem that there are grounds for relocation, we will aim to find a suitable alternative.  In the event of a relocation, we will not be held liable for any other costs incurred (e.g. transport/taxi transfers).  If we cannot do this then we will offer a refund on the remaining time booked with this host.  If on hearing both sides, we deem that there are not suitable grounds for relocation then we will not relocate the guest.  In this instance the guest will then be subject to the early leaver T&Cs.

Complaints post arrival about factual details of the homestay (e.g. standard of accommodation, people in the home, pets etc.) that were provided to you before booking (e.g. via the photo profile details) are not automatic grounds for relocation or refund.  Homestays are British family homes and the make-up of the home can change.  We inspect homestays in line with British Council guidelines. However, as homestays are family homes the standard and the make-up of the accommodation can change between inspections. If there is factual discrepancy with information provided to you prior to booking, we reserve the right to make the final decision over any action taken (e.g. relocation, refund or no action) depending on the circumstances.

It is our policy to contact the host family in the event of a complaint under most circumstances unless it contradicts our Safeguarding policy. Except for these cases, we will not relocate without calling the host family first. Therefore, if the guest requests relocation without us discussing the complaint with the host family, we will not normally be able to satisfy this request.

We will not be responsible for the payment of fees for hotel stays, or any other alternative accommodation, not booked by us in the event that you choose not to stay in the booked accommodation, for any reason. Nor will be held liable for any other costs incurred (e.g. transport/taxi transfers).

HFS London provides a homestay matching service between host and guest.  We do not “own” the homestays and cannot control the actions of the hosts.  We cannot be held liable, under any circumstances, for personal wrongdoing between host and guest, or vice versa.  This includes loss, theft or damage to property, personal injury or any other accusations of wrongdoing.

Please note that any complaint raised must be made at the time the issue occurs i.e. as soon as possible, during the stay so that HFS London has the opportunity to look into the issues raised.  Where a complaint is raised at, or towards the end of the stay, it will be very difficult for us to (i) verify/investigate the issue raised and (ii) offer an alternative accommodation or refund (subject to the early leaver terms).  Where a retrospective complaint is raised and we are not able to verify or investigate the issue, we cannot be held liable and we will not issue any retrospective refunds.

Visitors choosing to leave their Homestay early

If you wish to leave early (after arrival), you must write to HFS London during office hours and serve 2 weeks’ notice, subject to a minimum stay of 4 weeks. The start of the notice period will apply from the date HFS London receives the written notice.  We will refund any payment made from the end of the notice period until the end of your original request. For stays of 4 weeks or less, there will be no refund.  For stays longer than 4 weeks, 2 weeks’ written notice must still be served. Failure to serve notice in writing will mean that there will be no refund issued.

Written notice must be received during office hours, which are from 09.30 – 17.30 (GMT) Monday to Friday. Saturdays, Sundays and national holidays (including the days between Christmas and New Year) are excluded.

Visitor Choosing to extend their Homestay

Should a visitor wish to extend their stay, HFS London must be given 2 week’s notice. Extensions are subject to availability. If an extension with the same Homestay is not possible, HFS London will endeavour to find a similar alternative.

All revisions and extensions to a visitor’s stay must come through HFS London directly and not the host.

Homestay Cancellation Procedures

If more than 2 weeks’ notice is given, there will be a 100% refund less 2 weeks’ accommodation charge.

For less than 2 weeks’ notice, there will be a 100% refund less 4 weeks’ accommodation charge.

Please note that:

  • Written cancellation notice must be given within HFS London’s office hours of Monday to Friday between 9.30am and 5.30pm (GMT). Saturdays, Sundays and national holidays (including the days between Christmas and New Year) are excluded.
  • In all cases the administration fee is non-refundable.
  • For all “no-shows”, there will be no refund. A “no-show” occurs where a student or guest fails to arrive at the Homestay on the confirmed arrival date without previous notification to HFS London or the host family. In this situation, the student or guest will have 48 hours after the original date of arrival to contact HFS London or the host family to explain the reasons for the no-show. We will impose the no refund policy if (i) we are not satisfied with the explanation provided or (ii) if the guest does not make contact within the 48 hour period above.
  • If after a booking confirmation has been issued and your Host Family subsequently cancels your booking (either before your arrival or during your stay), HFS London will find a suitable and comparable alternative Host Family for you. You will not be entitled to an automatic refund. If the alternative Host Family cannot be found then HFS London will refund you accordingly.
  • In all cases of dispute, HFS London reserves the right to have the final say on the question of any refund.
  • Our hosts are normal British families so cancellation by host does sometimes occur, especially in the case of personal emergencies. If a host cancels a booking at any time prior to arrival, we will offer you an alternative homestay. If you choose not to accept the alternative homestay, or if we cannot find one, then we will offer you a full refund. We will not be held liable for the costs of alternative accommodation, or for any other costs incurred, as a result of a cancellation by host prior to arrival (whenever so occurring).


HFS London reserves the right to demand written parental consent for junior (under 18 years old) visitors to take part in any activities outside of their normal schedule, and to deny consent to these activities if parental consent is not provided. We also reserve the right to override any parental consent provided and deny consent to junior visitors for additional activities where we deem the associated risks to be too high. Examples of these activities may include travelling outside of London, staying out later than the recommended curfew or staying overnight away from the homestay accommodation.

Use of kitchen, phone, washing facilities, and appliances are up to the discretion of the host family. Loss of front door keys, and damage to property belonging to the host family are payable by the visitor. The visitor is expected to conduct themselves in a reasonable manner in terms of using host family’s facilities, noise and inviting guests to the home (especially after 10pm).