SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — Airbnb is now threatening swift punishment and even legal action against guests and hosts who throw or allow parties.
The vacation rental giant says it is banning parties and capping occupancy to 16. The company cited COVID restrictions as part of its rationale.
"Some have chosen to take bar and club behavior to homes, sometimes rented through our platform," Airbnb said in a statement. "We think such conduct is incredibly irresponsible – we do not want that type of business, and anyone engaged in or allowing that behavior does not belong on our platform."
In San Diego, home to at least 11,000 vacation rentals, both residents and hosts praised the move.
Andrew Kaperonis owns a home in Mission Beach sandwiched between two vacation rentals. Things got so bad with the unit to the south that he took the owner to court, ultimately making the situation better with a required seven-day minimum stay. It still, however, is a vacation rental.
"You get a little bit of anxiety because you just don't know who you are going to get," he said. "You're always kind of looking around and going, 'oh, who's checking in today?'"
Kaperonis said Airbnb's party ban is a step in the right direction, but questioned how it would be enforceable. Airbnb says it maintains a 24-hour hotline and rapid response teams. People can also message the site.
Hosts also told ABC-10News they backed the move. Blaine Smith, owner of 710 Vacation Rentals, which manages 180 listings largely in Mission Beach, said it's good Airbnb is holding people accountable.
Smith says he vets reservations and will decline them if he senses there will be a problem, but not everyone does.
"I know a lot of these neighbors, I'm not trying to upset any one of them, whereas if you're a single owner that does not live in the area, I think that's where a lot of the issues come from," he said.
Cy Pilkington, who manages four vacation rentals in La Jolla and Pacific Beach, said he was glad Airbnb was taking the stance. He is an on-site manager for three of the units and does not allow parties.
"We want people to be able to come and enjoy a piece of our life that they normally can't have, when they live inland or hotter communities or rural communities that want to come and enjoy the beach," he said.
The city of San Diego has failed to implement any new regulations on vacation rentals. The City Council passed an ordinance instituting rules in 2018, but rescinded it after a referendum funded by Airbnb.