Worldwide: Airbnb has issued a global blanket ban on all parties and events being held in properties listed on its platform from now on.
The company will limit the total occupants in a property to 16, with the exception of certain venues.
Airbnb first attempted to limit the impact of parties last year, after a fatal shooting incident at a property last year in the Californian city of Orinda, near San Francisco. As a consequence, it banned so-called ‘party houses’, set up a 24/7 hotline for locals to report unlawful activity, and prevented under-25s in the UK, France and Spain from renting entire homes after successful trials in the USA and Canada.
Due to safety issues presented by the global pandemic, Airbnb removed the event-friendly filter and the “parties allowed” house rules on its website. It also emphasised the importance of local regulations, which it believed placed a soft ban on large-scale events.
However, many users did not follow these policies. Police shut down parties across the USA and in the UK, and both STAA and the UK Bed and Breakfast Association condemned Airbnb’s perceived lack of oversight.
David Weston, UK B&B Association chairman, told the BBC in June: “While B&Bs and guest houses have been closed since 23 March, it seems these giant platforms have allowed bookings to be made and enabled the so-called ‘lockdown parties’, which have put guests, hosts, neighbours and communities at risk.
“It is about time these global platforms took some responsibility for the safety of their guests, their accommodation and showed some respect for local communities,” he added.
Hosts and neighbours in the UK have said that parties held in short-term rentals are both disruptive to local communities as well as illegal, creating unease and insecurity for residents nearby.
Now, in the interest of its community and public health, Airbnb has chosen to issue a blanket ban on house parties in its listed properties. In addition, it has threatened legal action against guests and listings breaking the new rules.
Airbnb’s statement reads: “Some have chosen to take bar and club behaviour 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 behaviour does not belong on our platform.”
The company added that though the current cap is being held at 16 people, it is not sanctioning smaller gatherings which become disruptive for local communities. The new rules go into effect immediately, but the company is still examining certain elements, such as augmented rules for traditional hospitality venues and boutique hotels.
Catherine Powell, Airbnb global head of Hosting, said: “With restaurants and bars closed in many places, some guests are using Airbnbs for unplanned events. When this happens it can put you at risk, it damages our relationship with your neighbourhoods and local communities and its even more disheartening during a global pandemic.”