New Year’s Eve Airbnb party hosts could face legal action

The warning comes a month after Airbnb revealed 800 UK listings had been removed or suspended in a crackdown on party houses.

Airbnb logo
Airbnb logo

New Year’s Eve revellers could face legal action for throwing parties in Airbnb properties, the company has warned.

People without a history of positive reviews will be barred from making one-night bookings for entire homes on December 31 in the UK.

The San Francisco-based home-sharing company has banned house parties worldwide as part of efforts to clean up its reputation.

Airbnb said it will use technology that restricts some local and last-minute reservations and block bookings within a wider radius.

Anyone making a New Year’s Eve booking will have to confirm they will not throw a party and acknowledge they may be pursued legally if they break the rules.

The company has taken legal action in the US over unauthorised parties, in one case filing a lawsuit alleging breach of contract, fraudulent misrepresentation, and fraudulent and unlawful business practices.

Patrick Robinson, the firm’s director of public policy, said: “We know this festive season will be unlike any other and many of us will be toasting the end of an incredibly tough year.

“With that comes a small minority who may try to ruin the celebrations and our message to them is clear – you will not be welcome on Airbnb.

“By bringing in these extra steps, we hope that hosts, guests and local communities can enjoy a safe and peaceful New Year’s Eve.”

The firm said it will be running a “virtual command centre” with “safety agents” on call on New Year’s Eve to deal with problems.

Police stock
In August, police had to break up an illegal house party at an Airbnb in north London (Steve Parsons/PA)

Last month, the company revealed 800 UK listings had been removed or suspended in a crackdown on party houses, with more than 13,500 UK reservation attempts blocked in the month after the introduction of a pilot scheme to tackle anti-social behaviour.

In August, Airbnb banned guests under 25 with fewer than three positive reviews from booking entire homes close to where they live.

Airbnb said many of the suspensions came after concerns raised through its “Neighbour Tool”, where people can complain about properties listed on its website.

In June, a 26-year-old man was stabbed at a party in an Airbnb property in Denmark Hill, south-east London.

Following the incident, a spokesman for the company said the guest had been removed from the site and the listing suspended while the “isolated incident” was investigated.

In August, Metropolitan Police officers broke up an illegal house party said to have been held at an Airbnb property in north London following complaints from neighbours.

Footage of the event, described as an “illegal rave” by one neighbour, showed dozens of people in the garden of the house in Tavistock Terrace, Archway, not wearing masks or socially distancing.

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