As municipalities around the country evaluate changes to their respective codes in an effort to exert greater control over bad actors in the vacation rental market, Airbnb announced on November 2nd that it is banning party houses. The move comes in response to the shooting deaths of five people at a Halloween party hosted at an Airbnb rental house in Orinda, CA. CEO Brian Chesky announced on Twitter that starting November 2, Airbnb would ban “party houses” and redouble the company’s efforts to “combat unauthorized parties and get rid of abusive host and guest conduct.” twitter.com/bchesky
The four-bedroom rental reportedly had been rented on Airbnb by a woman who advised the owner her family members had asthma and needed to escape smoke from a wildfire burning in Sonoma County about 60 miles north of Orinda earlier in the week. Nevertheless, the homeowner was suspicious of a one-night rental on Halloween and reminded the renter that no parties were allowed. Having received complaints from neighbors and witnessing some party activity via his camera doorbell, the homeowner called police who were en route to the home, but arrived after the shooting. The Halloween party apparently was advertised on social media as an “Airbnb Mansion Party,” with an admission fee of $10 per person.
Independently owned vacation rentals are currently growing at a faster rate than hotels or motels, and in some instances are owned by out-of-state investors seeking not only a real estate return on investment, but also a return on investment associated with revenue streams generated by “pay to play” parties promoted on social media.