Airbnb implementing new rental restrictions to deter neighborhood party zones on New Year’s Eve

Renters with a less than pristine record will face additional scrutiny this holiday.

The new year is coming and with it new steps to deter raucous partying at short-term rental properties.

Airbnb is taking steps to deter bacchanals that might irk the neighbors, with a new policy that will block Airbnb clients with a less than pristine record on the platform from last-minute home rentals on New Year’s Eve. The policy would also, in certain areas, block home renters from booking two- or three-night stays, a step up from last year’s policy that banned single-night stays on New Year’s Eve at properties owned by renters without a positive history on the rental platform.

Last year, the anti-party policy stopped some 1,500 bookings in Miami alone, the company said.

“We greatly value our partnership with our hosts and their feedback to help us elevate our defenses against unauthorized and disruptive parties,” Airbnb officials said in a news release.

New technology will be put to work to spot and stop two- and three-night rentals for New Year’s Eve weekend that seem to have a high potential to turn homes into party zones by virtue of their location, timing, or both.

“This technology will kick in for certain reservations that pose a heightened risk for unauthorized parties, focusing on local reservations,” the news release said.

City officials, however, say they wish online short-term rental platforms like Airbnb and VRBO would ban one-night rentals of private homes all year, not just for 2022’s upcoming debut. For Michael Hudak, who represents coastal Deerfield Beach on the City Commission, Airbnb and VRBO have turned his neighborhood into a permanent party zone.

“Short-term rentals are destroying coastal Deerfield Beach,” Hudak said, calling the scourge of short-term rentals in his area the most pressing problem facing his district.

He has one next door and another behind him. That experience and the constant calls he gets have acquainted Hudak with the excess noise, trash and parked cars resulting from short-term rentals.

Deerfield Beach, and most other cities that didn’t pass laws before 2011, are hamstrung from regulating these rentals. And Hudak says his neighborhood has seen an onslaught of corporations coming to town to buy family homes that can be rented via internet platforms like Airbnb.

They are not subject to the same rules hotels and motels must follow, but have high money-making potential, he said. And having homes used for short-term rentals is adding to the shortage of affordable housing, he said.

“My constituents are up in arms, but there’s nothing I can do other than tell them to contact Broward Sheriffs or get code compliance out there,” he said.

The topic is the focus of perennial legislation, but lawmakers have not backed down from stopping cities and counties from enacting laws that regulate short-term rentals.

Airbnb’s ban on one-night rentals and increased scrutiny of two- or three-night home rentals during New Year’s Eve will be in effect for the entire United States, Canada, Brazil, Australia, New Zealand, France, Spain and the United Kingdom.

Anne Geggis

Anne Geggis is a South Florida journalist who began her career in Vermont and has worked at the Sun-Sentinel, the Daytona Beach News-Journal and the Gainesville Sun covering government issues, health and education. She was a member of the Sun-Sentinel team that won the 2019 Pulitzer Prize for coverage of the Parkland high school shooting. You can reach her on Twitter @AnneBoca or by emailing [email protected].


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