Airbnb on Thursday announced a global ban on unauthorized house parties at its rental properties, capping all occupancies at 16 after a number of complaints and legal issues stemming from vacation rental companies and the violation of social-distancing guidelines during COVID-19.
“This party ban applies to all future bookings on Airbnb and it will remain in effect indefinitely until further notice,” the company said in a statement.
The home-sharing company said it could take legal action on any guests or hosts caught violating the restrictions.
When the coronavirus crisis worsened in March, Airbnb updated its policies by removing its “event-friendly” search filter on the website and app, as well as its “parties and events allowed” filter, to deter large-format gatherings. It also introduced a new policy mandating users to adhere to local COVID-19 public health requirements.
Some Airbnb postings are still advertising to large groups, however, including one listing for a four-bedroom New Jersey home that boasts the ability to “Host up to 20!”
“Party houses,” however, have been a problem long before the coronavirus pandemic. Last year, Atlanta City Council discussed amending a zoning ordinance from 1982 to regulate large-scale commercial events that can lead to public safety issues. And more recently, a number of cities have been cracking down on so-called party houses. Last month, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot introduced a proposal to crack down on homes being rented out for big gatherings via websites like Airbnb, VRBO and others.
Last year, Airbnb also imposed stricter limits on party homes disrupting neighborhoods with restrictions on guests under the age of 25 to book entire home listings. What’s more, the company said “unauthorized parties have always been prohibited” and said that around 75% of its property rentals already have bans on parties.