The vacation rental giant Airbnb recently made permanent a temporary global party ban. It reiterated intolerance for “open-invite” carousing (that is, parties advertised on social media) and chronic party houses with repeat disturbances.
“The majority of our hosts — and many are over [the age of] 50 — don’t want parties,” says Ben Breit, director of trust and safety for Airbnb. “They have respect for their neighbors and they don’t want property damage.’’
Breit says the updated party ban also states that those without a history of positive reviews who make reservations in their own city on holidays, including Halloween and New Year’s Eve, must sign an “anti-party attestation.” By signing, both parties acknowledge the ban and the consequences: Renters found in violation of the rules face suspension from Airbnb and legal action. Hosts are liable for disruptive social events and may have listings removed.
The party ban has been misinterpreted as ruling out multigenerational family reunions, girls’ getaways or groups of friends sharing a rental. That’s not so, says Breit. “It’s perfectly acceptable. We have big homes on our platform to host that kind of gathering.” As part of the updated policy, Airbnb dropped the 16-person occupancy cap that was implemented during COVID-19.
Kate Shaw, an Airbnb host with 10 properties in California, allows gatherings such as bachelorette parties, “but I have never had my house used for a [big] party,” she says. “If something feels off about a reservation, I suss it out and use my gut to decide whether to rent.”
Airbnb’s restrictions on “party houses” date back to November 2019, following five shooting deaths at an unauthorized Halloween bash in California. Its worldwide party ban was put in place in August 2020, after bars and restaurants had been closed due to the pandemic and houses rented by young locals were increasingly used to host gatherings that got out of control, irked neighbors and caused property damage. That summer, Airbnb changed its rules to prohibit those under 25 years old from booking houses or apartments in their hometowns unless they had positive reviews from hosts and no negative reviews.
The party ban has been misinterpreted as ruling out multigenerational family reunions, girls’ getaways or groups of friends sharing a rental. That’s not so, says Breit. “It’s perfectly acceptable. We have big homes on our platform to host that kind of gathering.”
According to Airbnb, the party ban worked: The period between August 2020 and August 2021 saw a 44 percent drop in reported parties. Still, in 2021, more than 6,500 renters were banned or suspended for bypassing the rule.
In one example, a host identified as Laura sought ideas to screen renters in an Airbnb discussion room, reporting that a local guest booked with “a story of a funeral in the family that turned into a raging party … I had to involve the police. They cleared more than 30 people from my home at 1 a.m.”