Airbnb banning "party houses" after fatal Halloween shooting at one of its rentals

Nov 4 2019, 7:57 am

A deadly shooting at a California Airbnb rental has resulted in the platform banning “party houses.”

According to the Orinda Police Department, on Halloween night, Thursday, October 31, five victims were fatally shot at a house party. Police said that there were over 100 attendees, and that party-goers came from all over the Bay Area to attend the event, which was allegedly advertised on social media.

“The party took place in a home that was found on a short-term rental website,” said investigators.

Brian Chesky, co-founder and CEO of Airbnb, called the incident a tragedy and made the ban announcement soon after.

“What happened on Thursday night in Orinda, CA was horrible. I feel for the families and neighbours impacted by this tragedy — we are working to support them,” said Chesky on Twitter.

“Starting today, we are banning ‘party houses’ and we are redoubling our efforts to combat unauthorized parties and get rid of abusive host and guest conduct, including conduct that leads to the terrible events we saw in Orinda.”

The announcement was made on November 2, and Chesky said one of the first changes Airbnb will be making is expanding manual screening of high-risk reservations flagged by their risk detection technology.

Additionally, the platform is creating a dedicated “party house” rapid response team. As well, Airbnb will start taking immediate action “against users who violate these enhanced guest policies, including removal.”

“I have directed Margaret Richardson from our executive team to oversee this new team and initiate a 10-day sprint to review and accelerate the development and implementation of these new safety initiatives,” said Chesky.

“We must do better, and we will. This is unacceptable.”

Airbnb also tweeted that they are redoubling efforts to combat unacceptable and abusive behaviour on their platform that can lead to “tragic incidents.”