In a blog post, the platform clarified its new “house party ban,” unveiled new standards for guests, and revealed plans for a dedicated hotline for government officials. The changes announced Thursday come amid heightened scrutiny by politicians and more regulation from local governments that could harm Airbnb’s business.
The new guest standards cover five scenarios: excessive noise, unauthorized guests, unauthorized parking, unauthorized smoking and major cleanliness concerns. Hosts and neighbors can report potential violations of these standards, as well as other concerns, through Airbnb’s “neighbor tool.” In the near future, they also will be able to reach out to a rapid response team that Airbnb previously said would launch by the end of this month. The first violation of the new standards by guests will result in a warning and the second could lead to suspension.
Airbnb also released more details on its new “party house ban.”
It prohibits “open-invite” parties, such as those advertised on social media, across all types of Airbnb listings. This is the sort of party that took place in Orinda, California, where a massacre resulted in five fatalities on Halloween.
Airbnb tries to guard against such events by using software that flags bookings based on factors such as listing size and stay duration and then manually reviewing those listings.
Airbnb emphasized that the ban on open-invite parties “does not impact parties that are authorized by hosts and convened respectfully by guests.”
But the new policy does prohibit “large” parties and events — presumably, even if they are invite-only parties — in multifamily building units, including apartments and condos. The line between “respectful” parties in multifamily buildings and “large” ones wasn’t clear.
The blanket ban on large parties won’t apply to single-family rentals, Airbnb said.
“For “single-family home” listings, we will continue to trust our hosts to set House Rules that are appropriate for their community,” the platform said.
If neighbors complain about such listings, however, Airbnb may ask hosts to set new requirements and ban them if complaints continue.
All parties thrown without the knowledge or consent of hosts remain prohibited, the platform noted in its blog post. Airbnb is in the process of “proactively identifying listings around the world that may be in violation of our new rules.”
A last initiative announced by Airbnb was a dedicated hotline for mayors and city officials. The platform said it would roll out details on this policy in 2020.
“Trust is the real driver that has allowed Airbnb to scale in more than 7 million listings and more than half a billion guest arrivals in 191 countries and we want to deepen that trust by making sure that city officials have a dedicated way to communicate with Airbnb in the rare event that hosts’ or guests’ conduct are not meeting our standards,” Airbnb said in the blog post.
The safety measures come as cities continue to introduce short-term rental regulations that threaten Airbnb’s bottom line. For example, Orinda, where the Halloween party took place, was poised in early November to ban short-term rentals that aren’t occupied by their owners.
The platform also continues to receive scrutiny from legislators. In late November, the Congressional Black Caucus requested a meeting with Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky. They said they hoped he could address their concerns about the “efficacy” of changes that the platform announced after the shooting.