Airbnb cracks down on party houses, from Escondido to Pacific Beach
As part of a global ban on parties being held in homes listed on its platform, Airbnb has so far removed 17 San Diego County listings
Following through on a pledge to ban parties in its short-term rental listings, Airbnb announced Friday that it has so far suspended or removed 17 San Diego County properties from its online platform.
The “party houses,” characterized by Airbnb as those that have either received complaints or violated Airbnb’s policies on parties and events, are scattered throughout the county, from Escondido and La Mesa to multiple San Diego neighborhoods, including Clairemont Mesa, Linda Vista, Mission Bay Park, the Peninsula area, North Park, Pacific Beach, Southeastern San Diego and Uptown.
The San Francisco-based home sharing company provided no detail on the individual short-term rentals nor would it share addresses “out of respect for the privacy of the hosts.”
“We will continue to enforce our party rules against groups of any size and will be taking action both on guests and listings if we receive reports from neighbors,” said John Choi, Airbnb’s Director of Public Policy in San Diego
To date, Airbnb has initiated similar crackdowns in four other parts of the country — Los Angeles County, where 50 listings were removed or suspended; Arizona with 50; Clark County, NV, with 20; and Atlanta, 50.
Airbnb differentiates a removal, which is permanent, from a suspension, which is temporary and varies in duration, depending on the severity of the issues.
While Airbnb already had instituted last year a worldwide prohibition of party houses that “create persistent neighborhood nuisance,” it announced more than a week ago it would start banning all parties and events in homes listed on its website. The latest action is prompted in large part by the widening pandemic, and it is likely that San Diego and other cities can expect to see more listings removed as Airbnb continues its crackdown.
“In this current environment, it’s more important than ever before to prevent large parties and gatherings, and we support the efforts of local officials to put a stop to this irresponsible behavior,” Choi said in a statement. “We hope that sharing out these steps today can raise further awareness of our 24/7 neighbor hotline so that we can strengthen the enforcement of our ban on party houses throughout San Diego County.”
Anyone wishing to report a party or nuisance at a short-term rental listed on Airbnb can call the company’s hotline at 1-855-635-7754.
It’s unclear exactly how many short-term rentals there are in San Diego County, but in the city of San Diego, the City Auditor has estimated the total — both whole home and home-share units — at 16,000. That includes listings on multiple sites, including Airbnb.
For years, critics of the growing inventory of vacation rentals in San Diego’s residential neighborhoods have complained that the city has done little to enforce nuisance regulations and has been unwilling to shut down those houses that have been the target of multiple complaints to local police.
While many cities in the county and across the U.S. have specific laws regulating Airbnb-style rentals, San Diego city leaders so far have been unable to implement citywide regulations. Two years ago, Airbnb launched a successful referendum petition drive that forced the City Council to abandon tough vacation rental rules passed in 2018.
Only recently did the San Diego City Attorney’s office take action against a Bankers Hill short-term rental that neighbors had complained repeatedly about to the police, claiming it was the site of raucous parties. City Attorney Mara Elliott earlier this month filed a civil enforcement action in Superior Court, citing violations of the state’s unfair competition law and municipal code. In addition, Airbnb suspended the listing while it undertakes an investigation.
Airbnb points out on its website that unauthorized parties have always been barred at its listings, noting that 73 percent of the homes listed on its site worldwide already prohibit parties in their “house rules,” and that the “vast majority of our guests behave in manners that show respect for House Rules and for neighbors.”
Airbnb says it stepped up its efforts since the pandemic started by removing the “event-friendly” search filter from its platform as well as “parties and events allowed” house rules from what it describes as event-friendly listings. In addition, the more recent global ban on party houses includes a provision that occupancy at Airbnb listings will be capped at 16 people.
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