Technology

Airbnb announces global party ban, threatens legal action for guests who break rules

Christian Fleetwood

Christian Fleetwood

Short-term rental platform Airbnb has introduced an indefinite ban on all parties and events at its listings, on top of introducing an occupancy cap.

The move, according to the company, was pushed over the line “in the best interest of public health” and comes as the final stage in a process by Airbnb to regulate against unauthorised parties.

“Unauthorised parties have always been prohibited at Airbnb listings,” the company said in a statement.

“In fact 73 per cent of our listings globally already ban parties in their house rules, and the vast majority of our guests behave in manners that show respect for house rules and for neighbours.

“We’ve historically allowed hosts to use their best judgement and authorise small parties – such as baby showers or birthday parties – if they’re appropriate for their home and their neighbourhood.”

Airbnb said that with the continuing complexities of the coronavirus pandemic, with health mandates on gatherings and regulations on bars, clubs and pubs frequently changing, people had 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 said.

Airbnb said it is in the process of communicating this new policy to its global community, with the following rules to take effect:

  • Parties are now prohibited on all future bookings.
  • Occupancy at Airbnb listings will be capped at 16 people. This is primarily relevant to larger homes that were previously allowed to list as able to accommodate more than 16 people.
  • Airbnb is currently scoping a potential exception process for specialty and traditional hospitality venues (i.e. boutique hotels).
  • Guests will be informed about Airbnb’s party rules and informed that they may be legally pursued by Airbnb if they violate our policy. This work is currently being operationalised and will be rolled out in the near future.

The move comes as the next stage in an effort by Airbnb to enforce its ban on “party houses” – listings that create persistent neighbourhood nuisance, according to the company – after a tragic shooting incident at a Halloween party held in an Airbnb property in Orinda, San Francisco.

Airbnb finally finalises paperwork for IPO

Meanwhile, Airbnb has announced that it has finally filed its initial public offering – its S-1 registration statement – confidentially with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission.

According to multiple reports, there is no public information about the details of the offering; however, it comes almost a year after the company announced it planned to become a publicly-traded company.

That original announcement came off the back of record revenue in the second quarter of 2019, with Airbnb reporting that it had recognised “substantially” more than US$1 billion in revenue, marking only the second time in its history where revenue had exceeded US$1 billion.

However, in 2020, the coronavirus pandemic forced Airbnb to raise US$2 billion in debt and lay off 25 per cent of its workforce.

But, in positive signs, the company signalled last month that it had booked more than one million room nights, marking the first time that milestone had been reached since 3 March according to Skift.

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