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Airbnb announces new measures to regulate listings

  • Dec 17, 2019 | Jennifer Sokolowsky

Airbnb mobile phone app

Airbnb has put in place new policies designed to improve safety as well as shore up trust between hosts and guests.

The new tools and rules follow a shooting in which five people were killed at a Halloween party at an Airbnb property in Orinda, California. Airbnb reacted to the incident by vowing to fight “party houses.”

Now Airbnb has offered more detail about how the company plans to do that, and also address other safety and fraud issues. Airbnb’s plan includes several elements:

Party house ban

Airbnb has banned unauthorized parties and events in its listings, although the policy “does not impact parties that are authorized by hosts and convened respectfully by guests.” The ban includes “open invite” events that are advertised on social media or elsewhere (with exceptions for professional event venues such as boutique hotels). The company said that “hosts who attempt to circumvent this ban and allow guests to throw large parties will be subject to consequences.”

Large parties and events are also prohibited in multifamily residences such as apartment buildings and condos. For single-family properties, Airbnb said that it will “continue to trust our hosts to set House Rules that are appropriate for their community.”

The company already uses a risk detection model to identify reservations that have a high likelihood to be unauthorized house parties. The company will expand human screenings of reservations flagged by its algorithms, starting December 15 in North America and expanding worldwide in 2020.

Airbnb said that when it receives neighbor complaints about house parties, the company “may reach out to hosts to ask them to update their House Rules to address these concerns. When changes to House Rules are insufficient or if the complaints persist, listings will be subject to suspension or removal.”

Guest standards

While Airbnb has until now largely left rules for guests up to hosts, it has instituted new policies for guests covering five areas:

  • Excessive noise
  • Unauthorized guests
  • Unauthorized parking
  • Unauthorized smoking
  • Major cleanliness concerns requiring excessive cleaning after checkout

The new standards, which go into effect next year, create a “clear and actionable enforcement framework,” according to Airbnb. A first violation will result in a warning to the guest and required education on Airbnb rules. Further violations may result in account suspension or removal.

Airbnb will accept information on guest behavior from hosts as well as from neighbors via the company’s neighbor web page and hotline.

Neighbor hotline and dedicated line for officials

On December 31, Airbnb will debut a 24/7 hotline for anyone with complaints about an Airbnb property, staffed by a rapid response team. The hotline will launch in the United States and roll out globally next year. Airbnb already provides a web page that allows neighbors to register complaints online.

In 2020, Airbnb will introduce a new dedicated line that mayors and city officials can use to contact the company with concerns.


Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky announced that the company will review all 7 million of its listings worldwide by December 15, 2020. This includes verifying the accuracy of listings as well as quality standards.

Guest guarantee

Starting December 15, 2019, Airbnb will begin offering an accuracy guarantee for guests. If the listing they check into does not meet the company’s accuracy standards, Airbnb will rebook the guest into a new listing of greater or equal value, or the guest will get a full refund.


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Lodging tax rates, rules, and regulations change frequently. Although we hope you'll find this information helpful, this blog is for informational purposes only and does not provide legal or tax advice.
Avalara Author
Jennifer Sokolowsky
Avalara Author Jennifer Sokolowsky
Jennifer Sokolowsky writes about tax, legal, and tech topics. She has an extensive international background in journalism and marketing, including work with The Seattle Times, The Prague Post, Avvo, and Marriott.

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