Airbnb reiterates no-party rule as holiday bookings re-start

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Airbnb wants you to know they’re back in business.

The company has issued a press release outlining progress in their attempts to stop unauthorized parties in its Toronto properties.

According to a statement Monday, the company says parties are rare and the majority of guests are respectful — but reiterates their global ban on so-called “party houses.”

Airbnb stepped up efforts in Toronto after three men were shot dead in one of their short-term rentals in the city in February of 2020.

That incident proved to be one of several here involving Airbnb rentals and what came to be known as “ghost hotels.”

Then people who owned multiple units specifically to profit from the short-term rental industry were caught short by COVID-19 and the halt to travel and tourism, at one point triggering a glut of condos for sale in downtown Toronto — as well as a glut of furnished apartments on the long-term rental market.

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September 2020 saw a 215% increase of available condo listings in the 416 over September 2019, according to condos.ca.

In 2020, certain Airbnb rule changes made it difficult if not impossible for any Canadian under 25 from booking an entire home listing (i.e., no host on the premises) in their local area —unless that guest already had an established track record with Airbnb of positive reviews.

The attempt to weed out bad apples is apparently working. The involved technology has blocked or re-directed risky reservation attempts from close to 14,000 people in Toronto.

Airbnb’s press release comes at a time when travel and tourism appear almost ready to re-start after 15 months of lockdowns and restrictions due to COVID-19.

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The accommodation-sharing platform reports an increase of 106% in June in searches in Ontario for summer lodging, a sure sign that people are making holiday plans.

As announced in April, Airbnb is undertaking special plans for what they have dubbed The Summer of Responsible Travel.

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The new system of rules put into place last year to curb house parties should hold strong in preventing disruptive July 4th parties — Independence Day being a date now informally also viewed in America as independence day from the pandemic, despite official warnings to avoid group gatherings.

Airbnb is keeping a close eye on bookings for that weekend.

  1. Christina Crooks, 18, of Toronto was one of the two women murdered at a Fort Erie Airbnb.

    HUNTER: Toronto woman among two murdered at Airbnb and ‘friends’ did nothing

  2. The Airbnb logo is seen on a little mini pyramid under the glass Pyramid of the Louvre museum in Paris, France, March 12, 2019.

    Airbnb extends ban on parties through end of summer

The company also maintains a 24/7 hotline — and is increasing staff — so that neighbours can report on any noisy parties being thrown in an Airbnb property and help Airbnb enforce their policies.

And, as per the press release, Airbnb will insist that hosts and guests in Ontario adhere to all Ontario public health rules, including masks, distancing and sanitation protocols, or risk suspension from the platform.

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