Airbnb, one of the largest short-term rental companies in the world, announced Thursday it will ban all parties and events at its global listings, including capping capacity to 16 people, until further notice amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Airbnb stated that starting Friday, the party ban applies to all future bookings.
“We are currently scoping a potential exception process for specialty and traditional hospitality venues (such as boutique hotels),” Airbnb said in a statement. “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 operationalized and will be rolled out in the near future.”
The announcement comes after city leaders have made efforts to curb party houses, and Airbnb said it is committed to working with them on this issue.
Airbnb stated the move also comes on the heels of a party house crackdown in Los Angeles earlier this year, which resulted in the suspension or removal of 28 listings in the Hollywood Hills identified by the Los Angeles Police Department as “creating a substantial neighborhood nuisance.”
“We are currently in the process of communicating this new policy to our global community. We are partners with our hosts on this important issue and we both feel the pain when an unauthorized party occurs during an Airbnb reservation,” Airbnb stated. “We believe having a simpler, global policy will allow us to better support the vast majority of hosts who already ban parties in their homes.”
Councilman David Ryu has advocated for the City Council to adopt enforcement against people who host large house parties during the pandemic.
“I’m glad to see Airbnb take this issue seriously and adopt some of the ideas I have been pushing for alongside Mayor Eric Garcetti and Council member Paul Koretz,” Ryu said. “Party houses are unsafe, irresponsible and can have grave consequences, especially during a pandemic. All of us, from individuals to governments to global tech platforms, have a responsibility to shut these parties down for good.”
Airbnb stated that when the COVID-19 the pandemic was declared and social distancing became an important element in promoting public health and responsible travel, it updated its policies. At the time, most local governments were imposing strict limits on gatherings.
Some guests, however, chose to take “bar and club behavior to homes” that are sometimes rented through the platform.
“We acknowledge that there will always be those who attempt to break the rules,” Airbnb stated. “This is why we’ve implemented steep consequences for hosts or guests who try to skirt them, including bans from our community and even legal action.”
Garcetti said on Wednesday he authorized the city to shut off utilities to a Hollywood Hills home where several large parties were hosted despite the COVID-19 pandemic and Safer at Home orders as well as multiple warnings from law enforcement, although it’s not clear if that home was rented through Airbnb.
The full statement from Airbnb is available at news.airbnb.com/airbnb- announces-global-party-ban.