Airbnb issues New Year legal warning to customers

People planning to celebrate the New Year at an Airbnb listing have received a warning from the company.

Throwing parties can bring in clients with a massive legal bill as the US company offers to clean up its reputation.

People without a history of positive reviews are not allowed to make one night bookings for entire houses on December 31st in the UK.

The San Francisco-based home-sharing company has banned house parties worldwide.

Airbnb said it will use technology that limits some local and last-minute reservations and blocks bookings within a wider radius.

Anyone who makes a New Year’s Eve booking must confirm that they won’t be throwing a party and acknowledge that they can be legally prosecuted if they break the rules.

The company has taken legal action in the US against unauthorized parties, in one case filing a lawsuit for breach of contract, fraudulent misrepresentation and fraudulent and unlawful business practices.

Patrick Robinson, the company’s director of public policy, said: “We know this festive season will be unlike any other, and many of us will toast the end of an incredibly difficult year.

“With that comes a small minority who may be trying to ruin the celebrations and our message to them is clear: you won’t be welcome on Airbnb.

“By taking these extra steps, we hope that hosts, guests and local communities can enjoy a safe and peaceful New Year’s Eve.”

The company said it will run a “virtual command center” with “security guards” on New Year’s Eve to resolve issues.

Last month, the company revealed that 800 UK listings had been removed or suspended as a result of a crackdown on party houses, with more than 13,500 UK reservation attempts blocked in the month following the launch of a pilot project to tackle anti-social behavior.

In August, Airbnb banned guests under the age of 25 with fewer than three positive reviews from booking entire homes near where they live.

Airbnb said many of the suspensions came after concerns raised through its “Neighbor Tool,” where people may complain about properties listed on its website.

In June, a 26-year-old man was stabbed at a party at an Airbnb property in Denmark Hill, southeast London.

Following the incident, a company spokesperson said the guest was removed from the site and the listing was suspended while the “isolated incident” was being investigated.

In August, Metropolitan Police officers broke out an illegal house party allegedly held at an Airbnb property in North London following complaints from neighbors.

Images from the event, described by a neighbor as an “illegal rave,” showed dozens of people in the yard of the house in Tavistock Terrace, Archway, who were not wearing masks or socially distant.