WIRED Reporter looking to talk to hosts about Airbnb party ban

Hey hosts,

We had a reporter reach out with this message:

Hello, my name is Amanda and I’m a reporter with WIRED. I’m working on a story about Airbnb’s party ban and 25+ age requirement for full rentals, and whether or not this has been an effective move to cut down on unauthorized parties. This story is pegged to Spring Break being around the corner. I’m interested in speaking with hosts about how this has played out. I’d love to get an overarching view, or even specific anecdotes, if anyone on the forum might have some insight to contribute to the story. Please let me know if you have some time for a call. Thank you, Amanda Hoover, WIRED staff writer.

If anyone is interested, please respond in this thread.

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I don’t have a party issue as a host since mine is a homeshare. However, I have rented a large space for a family memorial party which only required one night. We appreciated the availability which worked much better than a hall or restaurant. It is sad that people who behave well and have legitimate needs often won’t be able to book thanks to the abuse of others.

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A responsible involved caring experienced owner would not end up with “unauthorized parties”, unless AirBnb forces the owner to accept guests they dont want, under the guise of non-discrimination. A responsible owner with a large house, should require a signed contract, and also a security deposit. ( This is endorsed by AirBnb only by API connected properties ). Party groups dont want to sign a legal contract, nor place a security deposit. A responsible owner has exterior security cameras, and a sound monitoring system too if necessary. A responsible owner is selective about whom they allow to enter their largest investment. A responsible owner cares about the neighbors and the neighborhood. A responsible owner always has management feet on the ground for a fast response to any guest issue. A responsible owner does not need, nor want, AirBnb’s ridiculous rules and oversight, that pretends to prevent parties. Shame on AirBnb for hiding true photos of guests, hiding names of guests, blocking guest identities, and for not doing appropriate background checks of guests. This is a problem created solely by AirBnb, and the ban restrictions are only a public relations move to pretend to the public that they have control over bookings, or that they care who is in the homes. The only thing Airbnb cares about is getting heads in beds and earning money through service fees. They only care about pleasing the guest and not about the value of the property owners. Everything they do is smoke and mirrors. No owner wants a destructive party in their home, and it is AirBnb who enables the bad guests that makes that party event possible. No time for a call. Just another clickbait story waiting to be written that never reflects the truth.

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I wholly resent the party ban. There are several reasons.

(And I apologize as I’m sure this will be lengthy but I don’t have time to edit.)

1—Unintended consequences that have directly affected my business: Before the party ban, depending on the season, 30-50% of my guests were under-25s. And they were, by far, the most gracious and conscientious age group of guests, the very best and my overall favorite. I never had even one guest under-25 that wasn’t an excellent guest and I cannot say that about any other demographic.

Although I often had small groups (3-5) or a couple/duo of under-25s, I just as often had a professional under-25 traveling alone for work. There were also quite a lot of, what I believe to be a very under-recognized group, of under-25s that are booking while traveling with their parents or grandparents. In that group, the parents or grandparents always mentioned something to the affect that they would never have considered trying Airbnb but that they were so happy that the son/grandson/etc had arranged it and that now they were hooked (And there’s a delightful subgroup in there of international travelers where the under-25 makes all arrangements because they’re the most comfortable with English).

I would like there to be an exception for hosts who live onsite at their property or at least be able to opt-out of the party ban. My house has 4 separate apartments and we live in one of them and rent out the other three. It is clear in my listings that although I give my guests as much privacy as they want that my husband and I do live on the property. So although some guests book a listing to throw a party, they are not going to book one of my listings to throw a party. And on the off-chance that someone was that dumb, I would be here and see it starting and go downstairs and stop it. It’s that simple.

I’m speaking in past tense about under-25s because I no longer get guests from that group. The only under-25s I’ve had since the party ban have been two that contacted me (both of them were traveling alone and one of them was a previous guest that I had given a perfect review after their first stay, doh) and asked why they weren’t able to book. For those two, I went into one of my “entire place” listings and changed it to a “private room” which then allowed them to book. After they were booked, I went back in and changed it back to the “entire space” that it is. It’s ridiculous to have to trick a booking system into letting guests book.

2—It isn’t effective and Airbnb doesn’t actually care about parties: We have an absent owner/nuisance house on our block, one house over from us. It took us and all of the other neighbors on our block over a year to get the city to force the owner to get the den of junkies, drug dealers, car thieves, porch pirates, animal abusers and bank robbers, after numerous arrests, overdoses, assaults and two hostage situations, out of that duplex.

Now the owner has Airbnb listings in there instead. Of course it’s not quite as bad as before (though at least the junkies and thieves didn’t park on our property or piss on our porch) but he has 30 reviews at this point, so about that many guests. And yet there have been 5 enormous parties the police had to break up and 2 different groups of prostitutes that set up shop for a couple nights. One group did some of their business across the street from our house, against the fence of a school.

My husband, I and our neighbors have all reported his listings to Airbnb numerous times and yet we are still all dreading the coming weekend. And this nuisance owner and now nuisance host has recently added a new listing that is both sides of his duplex combined as one rental. It’s odd too, because it doesn’t seem like any of his guests were having any trouble at all inviting 100 people over without the second side of the duplex included. Incidentally, none of these problem groups looked to be predominately under-25.

3—Personal responsibility: Hosts should take full responsibility for their properties. The very very minimum that any host should be doing is protecting their property and protecting their neighborhood from disturbances (and providing TP, lol). If a host cannot do those 3 things 100% of the time then they should be removed from Airbnb. No exceptions. It is literally the primary job of a host. I believe that removing irresponsible hosts would be far more effective than limiting bookings from guests that are under-25. I think it would also help with many of the other issues that Airbnb is having with its reputation.

4— Discrimination: Both websites and short-term rentals, for the most part, are getting away with loads of discriminatory practices that are completely illegal under federal, state or city laws for other types of businesses because, in most places, the laws have not yet been updated for these relatively new types of businesses. But getting away with it doesn’t make it any less discriminatory and, in a few places, it has already been made explicitly illegal for hosts and/or websites to discriminate against protected classes and is merely being ignored.

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I wish that Airbnb would define ‘party.’

I asked them and couldn’t get an answer.

Imagine a couple rents our property, which has a maximum occupancy of six. They have a dinner ‘party’ that consists of four people coming over to have dinner. Is that a party? Now assume that they’re inside and put music on. The music does not violate the city noise ordinance. Is it a party? Assume they now go outside with the music on. Well, here it is much more likely that they will violate the city noise ordinance, even inadvertently. I suggest (but see below) that only if they do violate that noise ordinance is that a party.

I think that Airbnb should define a party. To me it would be any activity where any of these conditions exist: the maximum occupancy is exceeded [maximum occupancy should not be more than the habitable occupancy under the law – maybe it should be a multiple of the maximum occupancy (?)], the city noise laws are violated (or Airbnb could establish a noise limit and apply the more stringent of the standards], any laws are violated by the guests or Host (including without limitation: parking, littering, trash collection, drinking in public, use of drugs). That would be my first draft, but I’m sure that collaboration – even a public comment period that would gather input from various stakeholders – would make it better.

Such a specific party rule would by its specificity reveal and remind Hosts and guests about the kinds of activities that are forbidden and have caused problems for Hosts, the public, neighbors, hurting the reputation of short-term rentals.

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Because I have a three-night minimum, the party ban has never kicked in on my listing. Also I only list for one guest in a private room in my home, so partiers would not logically book here.

However, I have read enough posts from guests and hosts who were affected negatively by this algorithm to say it is not a very effective way of preventing parties, and is applied indiscriminately to situations where it shouldn’t be, and it should be left up to the host to do their own guest vetting and decide whether there are red flags.

For instance, hosts have had bookings from lovely repeat guests blocked by the algorithm, just because the guest may only require a one night booking.

One guest posted that she was being blocked by the algorithm, even though the purpose of her travel is business related, she is travelling on her own, and she had a couple dozen 5* reviews from past stays. This is ridiculous and of course turns a guest off booking through Airbnb.

Other guests were young families, mom and dad, who happened to be under 25, and their toddler and baby. They were certainly not booking to throw a party, and understandably needed an entire place. Yet were blocked from booking.

And, as others have pointed out, this algorithm has nothing to do with Airbnb caring if renters throw a party and trash the house (which can be done by people in their 30s, 40s and 50s- it’s not behavior exclusive to under-25s) and disturb the neighbors- if it did, Airbnbs which get constant complaints from neighbors as party houses, would be delisted, and guests who do these things would be banned from the platform, neither of which happens with any consistency. To the contrary, hosts who cancel the rest of a booking due to the guests being disruptive are penalized for a cancellation and the guests are refunded for unstayed nights.
The party algorithm is purely about Airbnb attempting to protect itself from bad publicity.

And, as has been pointed out, the algorithm being applied across the board to all entire place listings is totally unnecessary- guests can’t get away with throwing parties at listings where there are onsite hosts.

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agreed.

me too. My listings are on my farm. We’ve had 2 parties here and I charged them $500 extra for the event space hire.

If we saw someone have an unauthorized party we’d just drive up to the top gates and chain them shut and put a “party is cancelled” sign up. So far it hasn’t happened.

I was SUPER annoyed when I couldn’t rent out my couples only small cottage (with only 1 king bed) for just the night of the 31st. No one is renting that cottage, 25m from my own house, to throw a party.

Happy to have this reporter contact me. i’d have something else to add about American rules being applied internationally, which is frustrating AF.

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Oh. Let me guess. We put the rules on the wrong side of the road. :wink:

:rofl:

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haha. at least you know you drive on the wrong side. :sweat_smile:

I was more alluding to the gun control laws, or lack thereof!, and the generally high level of violence, bad behaviour, litigiousness… [insert whatever I’ve forgotten], the USA has compared to elsewhere. Australia has laws like… you can’t do your own electrical wiring. Imagine if we applied that to American STRs?

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Well, to our credit, we also have laws (exactly) like that. :sweat_smile:

really? why do i see on youtube heaps of home renovators doing their own wiring?

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Sorry I find your post rather confusing on one hand you talk about the fact responsible owners avoid guests who party, while claiming at the same time that partying guests are down to Airbnb.

Both can’t be true .

And why do you need to see a guests photo before they book? How can you tell by a guests face that they are going to party.

And parties don’t just happen at larger rentals. They often happen in smaller places too.

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Surprised you find it rather confusing…I think it is perfectly clear, but what you mean is that you disagree with my standards.
I dont know what “down to airbnb” means…sounds like some kind of slang.
I only want travelers who are older and responsible…homeowners themselves is desireable because then they understand the value and care of a home generally.
I do not have race discrimination in my mindset if that is what you are insinuating…I do have internal age discrimination to protect my greatest asset. I also require the names of the people and all identifying factors…not just a photo. Now that comes after booking, and then I have to tell them they are not a match.
Big Daddy does a poor job protecting the home owner.
And yes , I do believe that, “most” of the reported dangerous and destructive large parties where a homes is destroyed and people are gunned down, have happened in larger houses.
I also want to prevent wedding events at my properties.
I will not accept bachelor parties… I have never ever had a good experience with a bunch of men having a bachelor party before the wedding. I have had poor behavior, vomit, outside urination, disturbing the neighbors, but no approriately behaved bachelor parties. No more.
A photo + a name allows me to sleuth on social media and discover more about the person who intends to rent my valuable property and to be sure I am discovering the right person too. Those bachelors often try to book…they will call it a “cousins gathering”, and “golf weekend”, a “reunion”…anything possible to rent my desireable home, except the truth. A photo and a name quickly reveals they are the best man, or brother, of the upcoming wedding groom.
I hear you prefer take the high road and disagree with me. That’s ok. Your response feels to me like a passive/ aggressive rebuttal. I am concerned about the value of my property and my neighbors, and if a group is turned down to ensure my standards, then so be it. My house, my rules, my choice, my investment, my standards.
Airbnb has removed too much control and, in my opinion, that is where the problems have arisen from when removing authority from high quality and responsible homeowners.
I agree to disagree with your viewpoint.

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No need to be so aggressively rude @georgygirlofairbnb

  1. I didn’t express an opinion on Airbnb’s partying policy so how can you disagree with a viewpoint I haven’t expressed?

  2. Nowhere did I mention race or discrimination issues in terms of a guests photograph. I asked a reasonable question how can having a guests photo help you understand whether they are likely to party

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I resond aggressively to passive aggressive questions and comments.

“confusing”
“claiming”
“both cant be true”
“why do you need”
“how can you tell”

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Wow I will leave you to your rant.

I’m many things - direct, opinated etc- but passive aggressive isn’t one of them.

And you picking out individual words doesn’t make me so :grin:

Hi Amanda,
We live above our unit so NO parties us great. People under 25 are ok, we can only sleep 4 ppl and that’s probably not going to be a problem - they’re usually booking us at that young to see a concert in town l, and since check out time is at 9:00 AM there is not a lot of time for partying.
Margi in Minneapolis

AirBnB just recently removed the requirement for positive reviews from past hosts under the guise of it being discriminatory and there’s no way that any host would even know if the party ban has been effective because it’s supposedly stopping guests from booking before they even reach the host. So how would we know other than selective general statistics that the company chooses to share as a PR play?

That said, 26+ min age is 100% better than 21+ in my rentals. Sadly, that min age may even have to bump up 30+ after additional guests who are 26+ invite friends who aren’t and someone in that group thinks renting a house is an open license to invite everyone they know. You reach a critical mass of guests on any home and problems always happen: extra cars show up, guests are up until 3am drinking and causing disruption, and, surprise! Guest find something, literally anything, to complain about with the rental because they know they’re not getting a good review and proactively try and deter a negative host review by implying there was something wrong with their stay before they checkout. “this place only has one shower for a group of 10…” which they clearly knew when they booked.

I’ve had guests collapse bunk beds, throw up all over carpets, show up on security cameras puking outside the doorway at 4am… only to deny everything, refuse to pay a dollar in extra cleaning, & issue threats after receiving negative reviews.

In 9/10 incidents those guests are unrelated 20somethings who know the rules and choose to ignore them. Honestly I wish that wasn’t the case and while there’s plenty of examples of fantastic 20something hikers or outdoorsy types I’ve hosted, the fact that the real awful ones almost always skew younger than 26 just ruins it for the rest.

Anyone who’s been on these platforms longer than a global pandemic that made everyone an overnight expert on all things STR knows platform screening is a joke and it’s only a matter of time before a bad guest shows up. No different than traditional long term rentals, but at least there you have more tools and data at your disposal there than the kinds of reviews that are now mostly automated and sugar coated on platforms with a vested financial interest in operating your home as a revolving door.

You realise, of course, that you are being discriminatory?

If things are so bad, why do you or you co-host permit this?

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I don’t agree that it’s only a matter of time til a bad guest shows up, because I certainly don’t rely on Airbnb to screen guests. I do that myself and have never had a bad guest. Of course, some listings are party-attracters and some aren’t, but there are plenty of hosts with entire place listings who don’t get partier/house trashers.

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