Airbnb blocks home bookings for some guests under 25 to crack down on unauthorized parties

Guests under 25 with less than 3 positive reviews will be unable to book entire homes in their local area

Airbnb will block some of its younger U.S. guests from booking homes in their local area in a continued effort to crack down on unauthorized house parties in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

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"Reducing the number of unauthorized house parties on Airbnb has always been a priority, and it’s more important now than ever," the company said in a blog post Thursday. "With public health mandates in place throughout the country, we’re taking actions to support safe and responsible travel in the United States."

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All guests who are under the age of 25 with less than three positive reviews will be unable to book entire home listings in their area. However, they will still be able to book homes outside of their local areas as well as private rooms and hotel rooms regardless of where they live.

Guests under 25 with at least three positive Airbnb reviews and no negative reviews will not be subject to the restrictions.

"The overwhelming majority of guests treat Airbnb listings like they’re in their own homes and neighborhoods, and 99.95% of trips on Airbnb have no safety-related issues reported," the company noted. "But given the scale at which the Airbnb platform operates, we want to continue investing in solutions to get that percentage as close as possible to 100%."

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Airbnb added that while guests under 25 will always find a way around the company's safety policies, and that "people over the age of 24 are perfectly capable of booking a home for the wrong reasons too," it believes the new policy is "the right action to continue to protect the safety of our community."

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The policy was piloted in Canada earlier this year, which the company says has led to a "meaningful drop" in unauthorized house parties.

Airbnb began banning "party houses" last November after five people were shot and killed during an unauthorized party at an Airbnb rental in Orinda, California, according to the Associated Press.

"We must do better, and we will," CEO Brian Chesky tweeted about the incident. "This is unacceptable,"

As a result of the incident, the company reportedly set up a rapid-response team to deal with complaints from neighbors and started screening "high-risk" bookings, such as reservations at large homes for one night.

The news comes ahead of celebrations for Fourth of July weekend, confirmed coronavirus cases in the United States have reached more than 2.7 million and deaths have surpassed 128,000, according to the latest update by Johns Hopkins University.

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The Associated Press contributed to this report.