Airbnb introduces new rules to rein in parties, nuisances

airbnb

Airbnb is taking more steps to crack down on parties and nuisance guests as the City of Ottawa tightens regulations on homes listed locally on short-term rental platforms.

The company said Thursday it's banning "open invite" parties at all of its accommodations. Those are parties open to anyone and advertised on social media, for example.

Airbnb says boutique hotels and professional event venues will be exempt from the new rule.

The San Francisco-based company is also banning large parties at apartment buildings and condos.

"This policy does not impact parties that are authorized by hosts and convened respectfully by guests," the company said in a news release. "Instead, our goal with this new policy is to address the small number of guests who act irresponsibly and those rare hosts whose homes become persistent neighbourhood nuisances."

Airbnb says it's in the process of identifying listings globally that may be violating the party house ban, including accommodations in Los Angeles, Miami Beach, London and Montreal. The company says it's asking hosts to update their listings to comply with the `'open invite" ban.

Airbnb is also issuing new guest behaviour rules. In early 2020, guests will get a warning for one instance of excessive noise, unauthorized guests, unauthorized parking, unauthorized smoking or excessive messiness reported by a host or a neighbour. Further violations will result in account suspension or removal.

Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky announced last month that changes would be coming after five people were killed at a Halloween party shooting in Orinda.

The company is under pressure to gain the trust of travellers, neighbours and lawmakers as it prepares for its planned initial public offering next year.

Last month, Ottawa city council endorsed new rules that will restrict short-term rentals on Airbnb and other similar platforms to primary residences in a bid to crack down on so-called “ghost hotels” run by absentee owners.

Under the new rules, corporations will also be banned from operating short-term rentals and owners who rent their properties out on Airbnb and other home-sharing platforms will be required to pay $100 for a permit that will be valid for two years.

Owners will be required to provide proof of residence such as a lease or deed, and permits can be revoked if operators run afoul of the regulations. Grounds for losing a permit include criminal activity, unpaid fees, behaviour that endangers public health or safety and “repeated public nuisances.”

Airbnb also said Thursday it's establishing a dedicated hotline for mayors and city officials who have questions about its policies.

– With files from OBJ staff