UK: Airbnb has announced that it has removed or suspended more than 800 listings in the UK following a crackdown on so-called “party houses”.
According to the company, the number includes listings that have received complaints or violated policies on parties and unauthorised events, which are “explicitly” banned on Airbnb.
In a further commitment to cracking down on anti-social behaviour, the platform said it had blocked more than 13,500 UK reservation attempts in one month following the introduction of pilot restrictions that prevent some bookings by under-25-year-olds close to the place where they live.
The news follows the introduction of a series of measures by Airbnb to get tough on lewd behaviour at its listed rental properties, including a global party ban, pilot booking restrictions and the launch of its neighbour tool, through which neighbours can share concerns about listings in their communities directly with Airbnb for investigation.
It came as Airbnb announced it would again be restricting bookings in England following the latest lockdown announcement by the government, in order to ensure that everyone would be able to follow the rules and stay safe during the lockdown period. From Friday 6 November until Wednesday 2 December, all new bookings made for stays during this time will be subject to the new temporary restrictions.
Guests booking legally exempt stays will still be able to book long-term stays on Airbnb, though the company said it would be regularly reviewing the measures and monitoring the government’s guidance.
Patrick Robinson, director of public policy at Airbnb, issued a “zero tolerance” warning if guests using the platform to book accommodation were to engage in anti-social behaviour.
He said: “We want to be clear beyond doubt that we have zero tolerance for antisocial behaviour on Airbnb. The vast majority of hosts and guests are good neighbours and we are determined to weed-out bad actors.
“Our measures are working and as the UK goes back into lockdown, our priority is to be good partners to communities and to help everyone stay safe.
“As new lockdown restrictions begin, we want to be a good partner to communities and we’ve heard from hosts who want to help everyone follow the rules and stay safe. That is why we are again introducing temporary booking restrictions on Airbnb.
“Public safety is our priority and we regret any impact for hosts and guests. We will closely monitor government guidance and keep the policy under review and we look forward to when hosts can safely reopen their doors to guests,” he added.
With plans seemingly in place to file the necessary IPO documents later this week ahead of a stock market debut in December, Airbnb has repeatedly emphasised its pledge to root out disruptive behaviour in its properties that could impact on their local communities, block house parties and large gatherings that fail to abide by social distancing, and eliminate all sorts of discrimination on its platform that has threatened to severely tarnish its reputation. In doing so, the company believes it will be more attractive for outsider investor interest, as it chases a post-IPO valuation exceeding $30 billion.