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Airbnb cracks down on 'party houses' after rental shooting leaves 5 dead

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Posted at 1:44 PM, Nov 02, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-09 09:30:57-05

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — Airbnb is tightening its restrictions after five people were shot and killed during party in Northern California.

Airbnb's CEO Brian Chesky tweeted Saturday that the San Francisco-based company is expanding its manual screening of "high risk" reservations and will remove users who violate policies banning parties.

"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," Chesky tweeted.

"High risk" reservations will be flagged by Airbnb's risk detection technology. Chesky says the company will be setting up a "dedicated 'party house' rapid response team" to oversee the development of new safety policies.

RELATED: Team 10 investigates wild, violent parties at short term vacation rentals

Five people died after the shooting Thursday night that sent about 100 partygoers running from an Airbnb rental in Orinda, Calif. The four-bedroom home was rented by a woman who told the owner her family was fleeing smoke from a wildfire and needed a place to stay, the Associated Press reported.

The AP reported the homeowner was suspicious of the one-night rental on Halloween and reminded the renter no parties were allowed. No arrests had been made and there was no immediate word on a motive for the attack.

The party comes as Airbnb and other short-term rental companies struggle to address the use of rentals as party locations without homeowners' prior knowledge.

RELATED: Airbnb: San Diego was 2nd most popular summer destination in California

Last May, a party at a La Jolla mansion ended in a shooting. The mansion was rented through Airbnb.

Airbnb told 10News at the time they had received no notice of the shooting, and the home's next vacationers added that there were no signs that a shooting had occurred when they checked in days later.

The San Diego Working Group on Short Term Rentals has suggested several regulations for the rentals to the city council. The suggestions include creating a fund for administration, monitoring, and enforcing short-term rental laws to relieve officers from handing any issues.

"Who's enforcing any of this? No one is right now,” Ann Kerr, president of the La Jolla Town Council, told 10News in August. "The longer that the politicians wait to put some kind of enforcement and compliance system in, the more vacation rentals will be established."

RELATED: Company turns several San Diego apartments into vacation rentals

Short-term rentals are not permitted under the City of San Diego Municipal Code, according to the City Attorney's Office.

Any uniform regulations from the Mayor's office or City Council have yet to materialize, as both sides remain at a standstill about what those rules would look like.