Just as Premier Doug Ford reduced the number of guests allowed at social gatherings in the province, Airbnb has announced a crackdown on party houses throughout Ontario.
As a part of this effort, over 40 listings in Ontario that have received complaints or otherwise violated Airbnb's policies on parties and events have been suspended from the booking platform.
“The vast majority of hosts in Ontario contribute positively to their neighbourhoods and economy, and they also take important steps to prevent unauthorized parties — like establishing clear house rules, quiet hours, and communicating in advance with their guests,” an Airbnb spokesperson said in a statement.
The Airbnb hosts were notified last week and suspensions were made in the following cities and counties across Ontario:
Last year, Airbnb announced a global ban on 'party houses' and in March 2020, the company launched a 24/7 Neighbourhood Support Hotline in Canada, where neighbours can call the company at any time and reach a real person at Airbnb.
The hotline is staffed with trained agents so that neighbours can reach the company directly with their concerns. The tech-giant says issues raised by residents through this hotline led directly to many of the listing suspensions announced today.
“We all need to do our part to reduce the number of large parties and events, and we support the efforts of local officials to crack down on this reckless behaviour,” said Airbnb’s Public Policy Manager in Canada, Nathan Rotman. “By bringing greater awareness to our 24/7 neighbourhood support hotline we can continue to strengthen the enforcement of violations of our party ban policy throughout Ontario and across Canada.”
Earlier this year, Airbnb introduced a pilot project that put restrictions on some bookings of local entire home listings by Canadians under the age of 25.
"As a practical example, if we identify a 20-year old guest who is located in Waterloo, our systems are set up to restrict that user from booking a house, apartment or other entire home listing in Waterloo for a 1-night reservation the following weekend unless they have a history of positive reviews on Airbnb. However, if that same 20-year-old is booking a stay to visit family in Ottawa, the restriction would not apply," explained Rotman.
Informed by this pilot initiative in Canada, Airbnb recently expanded this protection to the UK, France, and Spain.
Airbnb also announced last year the expansion of manual screening of high-risk reservations flagged by its automated systems. This helps identify reservations that help stop unauthorized parties before they start.