Airbnb bans all parties and events for the foreseeable future

21 Aug 2020

Airbnb logo in Minsk, Belarus. Image: © AlesiaKan/

The Airbnb party ban will limit guest occupancy at larger properties to 16 and promises legal action against groups who break the rules.

Yesterday (20 August) Airbnb announced a party ban for all future bookings, capping rental occupancies at 16 people in an effort to adhere to public health guidelines. Until now, the company said, 73pc of its listings around the world had already forbidden parties under their ‘house rules’.

“The vast majority of our guests behave in manners that show respect for house rules and for neighbours,” Airbnb said in a statement. “We’ve historically allowed hosts to use their best judgment and authorise small parties – such as baby showers or birthday parties – if they’re appropriate for their home and their neighbourhood.”

‘Incredibly irresponsible’

In 2019, Airbnb clamped down on listings that created “persistent neighbourhood nuisance”. It implemented stricter occupancy limits and banned what it called ‘party houses’ and established a ‘neighbourhood support hotline’ in the US and Canada that neighbours could use communicate with the company directly.

Other initiatives prevented guests below the age of 25 with no history of positive reviews from booking local ‘entire home’ listings.

Further updates were made at the onset of Covid-19. The ‘event-friendly’ filter and ‘parties and events allowed’ house rules were removed from the platform. Notices were included on the site urging customers to “adhere to local Covid-19 public health mandates”.

“At the time, most local governments were imposing strict limits on gatherings, which effectively created a form-fitting, patchwork ban on parties and events,” the company said.

In light of evolving public health mandates, Airbnb has made a decision driven by some people choosing “to take bar and club behaviour to homes”.

“We think such conduct is incredibly irresponsible – we do not want that type of business and anyone engaged in or allowing that behaviour does not belong on our platform,” it stated.

Covid-19 has had other impacts on Airbnb’s business so far. Back in May, its CEO announced plans to let around 25pc of staff go and introduced an “enhanced cleaning initiative” with updated guidelines for hosts.

How will the Airbnb party ban work?

The Airbnb party ban prohibits parties on all future bookings. The occupancy cap will mainly affect larger homes, it said, such as listings previously able to accommodate groups of that size.

If policies are violated, the people in question could face legal repercussions. Airbnb has said all customers will be informed of the updated party rules and that further details on legal action will be made available shortly.

“We acknowledge that there will always be those who attempt to break the rules,” it said. “This is why we’ve implemented steep consequences for hosts or guests who try to skirt them, including bans from our community and even legal action.

“We also understand that 16 is not a magic number and issues can occur with groups of any size. To be clear, we are not sanctioning smaller gatherings with this policy and all community members are expected to comply with local health restrictions on gatherings.”

Airbnb emphasised that its 16-guest cap in larger properties is “one step among several” in a bid to “mitigate any efforts to misuse an Airbnb for a party”.

The platform is also looking into “a potential exception process” for “speciality and traditional hospitality venues”, such as boutique hotels.

Lisa Ardill was careers editor at Silicon Republic until June 2021