The Party’s Over for Airbnb
Airbnb says that its so-called ‘party ban’ – introduced in 2020 at the height of the pandemic – is being made permanent.
The platform claims that there’s been a 63 per cent drop in reports of parties in Airbnb host homes the UK since the temporary ban.
Airbnb says it believes the ban has worked to reduce violence, rules violations and health concerns, with worldwide reports of parties at listed properties having dropped 44 per cent and over 6,600 guests suspended last year for staging parties in contravention of rules.
“The ban has been well received by our host community and we’ve received positive feedback from community leaders and elected officials. As we build on this momentum, we believe the time is right to codify this policy” says a statement from Airbnb.
However, at the same time as making the ban permanent Airbnb has scrapped its maximum number of occupants, which was previously 16.
This is apparently “based on feedback from a number of hosts who have listings that can house above 16 people comfortably.”
“Today’s announcement makes clear that there is no place for disruptive parties on Airbnb” says Amanda Cupples, general manager for northern Europe at Airbnb
She continues: “Since being introduced, the ban has led to a reduction in reported incidents and helped minimise the impact of noise and nuisance issues on communities. In the rare event of an issue, our Neighbourhood Support Line allows anyone with concerns in the community to contact someone at Airbnb directly so we can fully investigate.”
Meanwhile the Westminster government is launching a review into short lets in England.
Tourism minister Nigel Huddleston says: “We’ve seen huge growth in the range of holiday accommodation available over the last few years. We want to reap the benefits of the boom in short-term holiday lets while protecting community interests and making sure England has high-quality tourist accommodation.”
And housing minister Stuart Andrew adds: “Holiday let sites like Airbnb have helped boost tourism across the country, but we need to make sure this doesn’t drive residents out of their communities.
“We are already taking action to tackle the issue of second and empty homes in some areas by empowering councils to charge up to double the rate of council tax.
“This review will give us a better understanding of how short term lets are affecting housing supply locally to make sure the tourism sector works for both residents and visitors alike.”
The government says Airbnb listing data shows a 33 per cent increase in UK listings between 2017 and 2018 and the rise in the use of online platforms for short-term letting has brought many benefits – from an increase in the variety and availability of options to allowing people to make money from renting out spare rooms and properties.
But the government says it understands there can be an impact on housing supply and price in these areas and there are fears caused by evidence of a rise in anti-social behaviour including noise, waste and drunken behaviour in local communities. Lower protections for guests caused by negligence of health and safety regulations are also amidst concerns.
The review will also consider the operation of the provisions in London under the Deregulation Act 2015 to allow for measures to be taken against anti-social behaviour, whilst allowing Londoners to let out their homes.
The Westminster government’s review brings England in line with the devolved administrations.
The Scottish government set out legislation requiring all local authorities in the country to establish a licensing scheme by October 2022. In Northern Ireland tourist accommodation cannot be provided without a valid certificate issued by the national tourist board. And Wales has stated its ambition to establish a statutory registration or licensing scheme.
Merilee Karr – who chairs the Short Term Accommodation Association – says: “Short term and holiday rentals play an increasingly important role in the English tourism economy by contributing significant numbers of jobs in local communities and generating valuable sources of income for local homeowners and businesses.
“Any new regulatory solution should recognise this contribution and seek to support the industry as an important part of the wider UK tourism sector.”