Airbnb to ban local guests under the age of 25 from booking entire homes

Changes to security measures come following deadly downtown shooting that left 3 people dead, 2 others injured

Airbnb has announced that it will begin testing new regulations across Canada this month that will ban local guests under the age of 25 from booking entire homes.

Guests under 25 years old will still be able to book a private room within a host’s primary residence listing, but won’t be able to rent an “un-hosted home” within a certain geographical distance of where they’re living, according to spokesperson Chris Lehane. The company hasn’t specified what that distance would be.

Lehane is announcing changes to the company’s security measures at a news conference in Toronto, which started at 1:30 p.m. ET.

The new security regulations come in an effort to “reduce instances of unauthorized parties,” Airbnb said in a statement Wednesday. The idea is one the company says is backed by data suggesting issues related to house parties often occur in areas where the renter lives.

Pilot project follows deadly shooting

The pilot project comes just days after a shooting in downtown Toronto last week that left three people dead and two others injured.

The shooting happened at a rented Airbnb in a downtown condo building on Friday night, near Bathurst Street and Fort York Boulevard. Police received several 911 calls at 10:21 p.m. reporting the sound of gunshots.

The victims have been identified as Jalen Colley, 21, of Brampton, Ont., Joshua Gibson-Skeir, 20, of Brampton and Tyronne Noseworthy, 19, of Toronto.

“Our thoughts are with Joshua, Jalen and Tyronne,” Lehane said at the conference on Wednesday.

Toronto police announced on Tuesday that the violent shooting was likely a murder-suicide.

The incident raised concerns from nearby residents, who said there are persistent security issues associated with Airbnb rentals. It also prompted reaction from Fairbnb, a coalition of groups calling for more regulations for short-term rentals.

Airbnb has ‘zero tolerance’ for violent behaviour

In a statement following the shooting, Lindsey Scully, spokesperson for Airbnb, said the company has “zero tolerance for this type of behaviour,” adding that no other safety incidents have been reported at that particular listing.

“We are deeply saddened by the tragedy that occurred in Toronto last night and our thoughts are with all who have been impacted — including the victims and their loved ones as well as the neighbouring residents,” Scully said.

“We have zero tolerance for this type of behaviour, and we ban both party houses and unauthorized parties on our platform.”


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