Between 100 and 200 people and the destruction of up to 12,000 euros. It was the result of a party organized in mid-2018 in Torrelodones in a rented Airbnb chalet. A real riot that represents what now the holiday accommodation platform wants to avoid and end.
According to their own data, significant damages (more than $ 500) to the properties were only reported in 0.03% of the cases. But despite this figure, Airbnb has decided to ban unauthorized parties, control excessive noise or monitor if you smoke in accommodations where it is not allowed.
A tightening of its regulations that comes just before the Christmas period, although it has its origin in the serious incidents that occurred during the last Halloween celebration in the US, where there were up to five dead in San Francisco in a “party house”. This type of parties that take advantage of a home that is not yours. Now, the company also focuses on landlords, who have warned that if they allow irresponsible guests to celebrate parties that generate discomfort, they will have consequences.
Illegal parties: a problem for both the neighbourhood and Airbnb itself
The rise of Airbnb has changed the structure of some neighborhoods, where rents have experienced a rise and the concentration of visitors can affect the harmony of the neighborhood. Precisely these unauthorized parties are a problem for residents and Airbnb has taken note of the complaints received.
Given the success of Orinda on October 31, Brian Chesky, CEO and co-founder of Airbnb began a thread on Twitter announcing new measures to try to end more situations such as the one that occurred.
The CEO of Airbnb announced the ban on “party houses” and “redouble efforts to combat unauthorized parties and abusive behavior.” However, by then he remained in a promise without concrete measures on how to apply it. Weeks later, Airbnb has updated its policy with several prohibitions, tightening its rules and activating several communication channels.
And it is that the case of the Halloween shooting was not the only case where these unauthorized parties on Airbnb have caused problems. In the middle of last November, another deadly shooting happened at a vacation rental in Texas. In Boston, Cape Cod residents have initiated protests against Airbnb over the numerous student parties. Meanwhile, in Barcelona, to fight against the effects of irresponsible guests, some owners voluntarily installed real-time noise monitors to avoid problems with neighbours. Also surveillance cameras in classrooms, a measure to increase security but that has generated numerous complaints regarding privacy.
In early December, Airbnb decided to announce new measures to strengthen security. New rules of behaviour to avoid excessive noise and unauthorized parties that will take effect in early 2020. Beginning December 15, users of the application will also receive a notice ensuring if the house meets Airbnb standards. If this is not the case, the platform will allow 100% refund or an alternative of equal or greater value.
The objective of these measures is, according to the company: “to address the small number of guests who act irresponsibly and to the hosts whose houses become persistent disturbances in the neighbourhoods.” For this purpose, the prohibition of parties and events of “open invitation” is established in private homes, as well as in multi-family residences.
Airbnb incorporates new rules for travellers, including limitations on excessive noise, unauthorized guests, unauthorized parking, smoking ban and cleaning standards. Explaining that the guest who violates these rules will first receive a warning and “any further violation of the rules may result in the suspension or deletion of the account.”
Another measure is the opening of a dedicated communication line for mayors and public authorities of the cities. From December 31, it will start in the US and from 2020 it will expand to the rest of the countries. With this means of communication, it will be attempted that municipal officials can connect directly with Airbnb and, for example, directly notify the company that one of the guests is breaking the rules or there are any problems. In parallel, neighbours can also contact the company by phone for these types of issues.
“We want to make it clear that Airbnb does not prohibit authorized parties and events. Many visitors work with hosts that lend their properties to the realization of events that bring together many people in a respectful way with the home, the rules of the host and those of the neighbourhood,” explains Margaret Richardson, Vice President of Trust for Airbnb.
Illegal parties are an upward phenomenon and can lead to penalties between 4,500 and 900,000 euros, but the difference in cost between renting a room that meets the necessary guarantees and a vacation rental is large enough for many to seek to take advantage of it. With these measures, Airbnb seeks not to associate its name with this phenomenon.