Airbnb says guests who defy the anti-party rules will face “steep consequences” from the company, which can include a ban and legal action.
Holding a party at an Airbnb is no longer allowed. On Thursday, the company announced a global ban on users holding parties and events, citing the need to stop COVID-19.
The ban arrives as cities across the US are trying to crack down on Airbnb house parties on fears they’ll spark a COVID-19 outbreak. For example, one recent party at an Airbnb rental in New Jersey reportedly attracted over 700 people before police intervened.
In today’s announcement, Airbnb said: “Some have chosen to take bar and club behavior to homes, sometimes rented through our platform. We think such conduct is incredibly irresponsible —we do not want that type of business, and anyone engaged in or allowing that behavior does not belong on our platform.”
It isn’t the first time Airbnb has tried to crack down on rowdy parties. The company says it’s always had a policy against guests holding unauthorized events at a rental. In Nov. 2019, Airbnb also made an explicit ban against open-invite “party houses” in response to a deadly Halloween shooting at a rental that killed five people.
So what’s different? Well, to further dissuade bad actors from abusing the platform, Airbnb says people who defy the rules will face “steep consequences” from the company. The penalties can include a ban from the service and legal action for violating its policies.
Earlier this month, the company initiated legal proceedings against a booking guest for holding a party at an Airbnb that led to a shooting. According to the Sacramento Bee, Airbnb plans on suing the guest to pay for damages.
Another change is how authorized parties will no longer be permitted over Airbnb listings. In addition, the company is to going to cap the occupancy rate for all listings to 16 people.
The goal isn’t to stop small private gatherings at an Airbnb, but to tighten the rules at “larger homes,” which can become the site for a house party. “To be clear, we are not sanctioning smaller gatherings with this policy and all community members are expected to comply with local health restrictions on gatherings,” the company added. “We are capping guests at 16 in these large properties as one step amongst several, all designed to mitigate any efforts to misuse an Airbnb for a party.”
The company says it’ll take action on guests and listings if it receives complaints from nearby neighbors, who can lodge a report over the Airbnb hotline. The anti-party policy goes into effect today and will remain in place indefinitely. However, the company is going to make an exemption for traditional hospitality venues such as boutique hotels that use Airbnb.
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