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Airbnb warning to San Diego: No parties allowed this summer

Mission Beach boardwalk.
Mission Beach is always a popular locale for short-term rentals, which are listed on major platforms like Airbnb.
(Nelvin C. Cepeda/The San Diego Union-Tribune)

Ahead of the Memorial Day weekend, the online sharing platform announced it is extending its global ban on all parties and events at Airbnb listings through at least the end of this summer

As travel starts to rebound in advance of what will likely be a busy summer season, Airbnb is warning San Diego and other cities across the globe that it will not tolerate parties at any short-term rentals through at least the end of this summer.

In an announcement it made Thursday, the online sharing platform said it is extending a global party ban that it imposed last August at a time when the pandemic was widening and COVID-19 infections were on the rise.

“At the time of the August 2020 policy change, COVID-19 cases were spiking, and vaccines were not yet approved. As we said then and still believe now, this indefinite ban was in the best interest of public health,” the company said in its announcement of the extension. “While the public health concerns were paramount, other important factors motivated our implementation of the party ban. As our CEO Brian Chesky said recently with regards to the party ban: ‘We want to be really good community players all over the world.’”

News of the extended party ban comes just ahead of the Memorial Day holiday when locals and out-of-towners will be gathering for the long weekend. Airbnb said that it decided to extend the prohibition after hearing from people who were wondering if it would remain in effect.

Airbnb said that in addition to providing clarity to its community, it wanted to reinforce the message that “we will not tolerate behavior that disrupts neighborhoods or violates the trust of our host community. At the end of summer 2021, we will provide another update on the future of the policy.”

Given the upcoming holiday weekend, Airbnb said it also wanted to use the announcement as an occasion to remind both hosts and guests that they must adhere to local public health laws and guidelines related to COVID-19. San Diego County is still operating under state rules governing indoor gatherings, but those will mostly go away once California fully reopens June 15.

To help guard against guests who are thinking of booking rentals for parties, Airbnb has removed its “event-friendly” search filter and any “parties and events allowed” house rules in listings. It also continues to maintain a cap on occupancy of 16 people.

“In advance of Memorial Day Weekend, we want to make clear that those violating Airbnb’s rules or San Diego’s public health rules risk suspensions or bans from our platform, and even potentially legal action,” the company said.

Airbnb said it also is continuing to enforce an ongoing policy banning party houses, which it characterizes as those that have either received complaints or violated Airbnb’s policies on parties and events. Last August, it announced that it had suspended or removed 17 San Diego County properties from its online platform. They were scattered around the county from Escondido and La Mesa to multiple San Diego neighborhoods.

It’s unclear, though, how many more have been removed from Airbnb’s website. A company spokesman said he was unable to provide on Thursday an update on how many listings have been suspended.

In San Diego, the City Attorney’s office has conducted a crackdown of its own on party houses and last year cited the owners of two homes — one in Bankers Hill and the other in La Jolla — for operating large, raucous parties. Settlements have since been reached with the owners.

The city of San Diego only recently adopted a set of regulations governing short-term rentals, an issue it has struggled with for years. They will not go into effect, however, until July of next year. The new law not only caps how many whole-home rentals can operate in the city but it puts in place a system for licensing them and enforcing public nuisance laws.


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