--In an effort to “reduce instances of unauthorized parties,” Airbnb has announced it will begin banning local guests under the age of 25 from booking entire homes here in Canada. Spokesperson Chris Lehane made the statement during a news conference in Toronto Wednesday afternoon.
Airbnb guests under 25 years old will still be able to book a private room within a host’s primary residence, but Lehane says the changes they are testing out this month mean those guests won’t be able to rent an “unhosted home” within a certain geographical distance of where they’re living. Lehane never specified what that distance would be. However, people under 25 with positive Airbnb reviews will still be allowed to book entire homes locally.
In a statement, Airbnb said the changes are backed by data suggesting issues related to house parties often occur in areas where the renter lives. Lehane announced a new “24/7 neighbourhood support telephone hotline” in Canada for people dealing with Airbnb-related problems. --
I AM VERY HAPPY AIRBNB IS MAKING THIS POLICY CHANGE AS I AM SURE A LOT OF HOSTS IN TORONTO ARE. JUST A FEW DAYS AGO, I POSTED A CONVERSATION AROUND A LARGE SCALE SHOOTING THAT HAPPENED. THIS IS A GREAT START. THANK YOU AIRBNB!!!
My only question is how they will know how close the guest lives to the airbnb to determine if they are "local"
I'm interested to know how they're going to make this fly given that it's illegal to discriminate based on age. Denying a service based on someone's age (especially since they're legally an adult) sure seems like age-based discrimination to me.
I guess it's easy enough to make the announcement, then have it shot down in court. The company can then shrug it's shoulders and say "Oh well, we tried".
There MUST be a better solution. Like maybe get the reputation for enforcing your hosts rules so that bad-actor guests don't use the service at all.
@Jennifer1421 Like maybe give hosts some credit for being able to detect a risky booking and not penalize them for cancelling or have to beg for Airbnb's permission to do so? And remove bad reviews that result from a guest being asked to comply with the rules and show some respect so hosts don't allow bad behavior in fear of a bad review? And stop refunding guests for unused days when they've been booted out for refusing to follow house rules or show common courtesy?
@Jennifer1421 "I guess it's easy enough to make the announcement, then have it shot down in court. The company can then shrug it's shoulders and say "Oh well, we tried".
Exactly. This is no doubt just more lipstick on a pig. Airbnb has so far proven incapable of authentic change. We shall see.
Where did you all get this info that’s it’s illegal to enforce this? This is done in other industries e.g insurance and car leasing companies. The precedent has been set several times over and it is not at all illegal.
Maybe in smaller cities that don’t see as much issues of violence, this may not be a good step but in our city, this is a brilliant decision. There have been 4 separate shootings in less than 12 months. All caused by local guests and all were under 25.
Experienced hosts may be able to decipher risky reservations however newer hosts are very vulnerable and their bad decisions adversely affects all of us. As a result of all of these shootings, there is huge push back from communities to ban Airbnb in our city. This decision was necessary and should have been enforced before. Had it been in place for the last 10 months, those shootings would have not taken place , at least at an Airbnb.
@Sean433I'm not saying that I disagree with the logic behind it, necessarily, what I'm saying is that I don't think it'll hold up - the Ontario Human Rights Code specifically protects against discrimination based on age in accommodation.
Whether it's a given that it's specifically ltr "housing" versus str accommodation is unclear. I do expect that this will be challenged, and it will be overturned.
What I'm also saying is that Airbnb COULD, instead of creating policies that dangerously skirt the law, back its hosts and enforce their rules...or do a host of other things as @Sarah977 has mentioned upthread, so that people who are looking to party wouldn't immediately think that renting someone else's property via Airbnb is the way to go. Allowing exceptions to a law against discrimination is a very slippery slope indeed, and I'm not sure that this is the only or best way to accomplish protecting hosts and neighbourhoods.
If the penalties for behaving badly in any case were enforced and applied, Airbnb properties would not have the reputation as a great way to have a party in the first place. Collection up front of a security deposit is a big deterrent, and one that has been in use and has been working for many other rental business models (hotels, car rentals, even other OTR sites from what I understand).
My other issue with this policy is the location piece. I live in a college and university town. 2/3rd of the people living here that are under 25 are "from" elsewhere, and likely their profiles list their hometowns. They live here now, however, and they have friends to party with here. How does this policy protect against that? No doubt Toronto is similar.
I think that instead of constantly trying to reinvent the wheel, a step back to correct the basic flaws in the administration of the business is what Airbnb should be doing.
I thought that the neighbourhood hotline was already part of the "10-day sprint" announcements, arising out of the Orinda murders. I guess Airbnb is stepping up the rollout of it for Toronto. Like you, I have concerns that it may be used by disgruntled neighbours. We shall have to see how it works and whether it is useful (not that we'll likely ever be given any meaningful feedback on it).
@Jennifer1421 So well said. As usual with Airbnb, this is just more grandstanding. But behind the scenes, at the foundation where it matters, there is nothing of true value, effecting real, actual positive change being implemented.
Also, those under 25 are still able to book airbnb's in other cities and countries. This is a ban to book locally if you are under 25. Even the mayor of the city has voiced approval of this policy.
As a result of the careless airbnb hosts who hosted locals that threw a party, there is now a neighbourhood hotline to respond to neighbours complaints. So now, any neighbour who may simply just be unhappy that you are renting your home can call to place a complaint, regardless if it is valid or not. Further putting us in a disadvantageous position. Had this ban been in place earlier, this would not have happened.
I'm sure John Tory did voice approval of this policy. Gun violence in TO has been a growing issue for years, and I'm sure he's desperate to find a way, any way, to help. He's been calling for a ban on handguns for quite a while now. The donation to CDPG, which is calling for a ban on handguns, is likely a big motivator for his approval.
I'm not sure @Sean433 that it's fair or right to blame "careless hosts" for guests having unauthorized parties where people get killed. This is blaming and shaming the wrong parties entirely, imo. The people to be blamed are the duplicitous booking guests, the party-goers carrying and using the weapons and the complicit actions (or inaction vis-a-vis rules enforcement, collection of security deposits, doing away with the "Carrot and Stick" model for ratings) of Airbnb.
I understand your frustration and dismay that all hosts are being tarred with the same brush and it's affecting our businesses. I agree. Our collective reputation is being decimated by the actions of a very small percentage of people, and if we cannot get this right the business model is likely doomed.
Like everyone, I'm at a loss as to HOW to get it right, but I can't help feeling that focusing on the basic core of how this particular business model should work, rather than implementing ever-harder-to-manage policies (just to keep certain incentives/disincentives for hosts functioning) is the place to start.
We had yet another "unauthorized party/firearm complaint" in Chicago.
Every time something like this hits the news, it stirs up the local politicians who'd really like Airbnb to be dramatically curtailed, if not shut down altogether.
I'm sure there are many conversations behind the scenes that led to this under-25 "ban". Of course, enforcement is key. If it's not enforced, what's the point ?
Of course "the listing was removed". Nothing about the guests being removed.
I just had an inquiry for someone wanting to make a video of "someone sleeping, getting up, taking a shower, and having breakfast". Uh - nope !
@Michelle53 They need to shut down all the hotels, then. After about a 5 minute search, I recently posted some links here of 4 hotel shootings that happened only within the last 2 months. Those incidences never get the press, though - only Airbnb!
But who will challenge this decision? I cannot see a 20 year old hiring a lawyer to fight this because he/she cannot book an airbnb locally to have their party. And even if they do so, what's their argument? Why does a 20 year old need to rent an airbnb that is located within 20km of where they live? This isn't a long-term housing situation where they will be homeless if landlords don't rent to 21 year olds. A short term rental is not a necessity.
In Montreal, the legal age to drink is 18. Other parts of Canada, its 19. In USA its 21. Car insurance for males under 30 or 25 is substantially higher due to risk. Minimum age to rent a car in our province is 25. Booking.com allows hosts to select 25 as the minimum age to rent.
There have been studies that show how those under 25 are substantially more likely to make unsound decisions. This isn't discrimination. It is science and therefore the reason why so many industries are enforcing the 25 year rule without push back.
Also, I strongly agree with you and others that airbnb needs to take actual damage deposits. It will help avoid the party crowd however they also need to employ this 25 year rule. A violent 20 year old will not care that they will lose a $200 deposit by shooting up a house. I hope this is the next policy they pass but so far, this is a good start. My understanding is that if this is successful, this policy will be rolled out in other cities.
I mainly blame the guest for this but the host should be careful with who they accept into their listing. When at the grocery store, you pick through the apples and only select the good ones. If you choose a bad or suspect apple and then get food poisoning, don't say you weren't warned. Now, all of us hosts in Toronto and other cities where such tragedies happened are considered bad apples by their neighbors and the media. It is very damaging to our business as a whole.