The US-based accommodation-sharing company said the decision follows a temporary ban introduced in August 2020 when some people took “partying behaviour to rented homes” due to bars and nightclubs being closed or restricted due to the coronavirus pandemic.
It has recorded a 44% year-on-year drop in complaints about parties since then, and received “positive feedback from community leaders and elected officials”.
A home in the affluent Dorset neighbourhood of Sandbanks estimated to be worth £2 million was trashed in March last year when it was used for a party attended by around 60 people after being booked on Airbnb by a couple for a two-night break.
Two months later residents in Bearsted, near Maidstone, Kent, described how “at least 100 people” descended on a four-bedroom home for a raucous gathering with “thumping music all night long” after it was rented through the site.
In Edinburgh city centre, an 80-year-old woman was shocked when a naked couple ran into her tenement flat and started having sex in the living room before realising they had got the wrong door. A nearby shjort-term let property was being used by a sex club.
In 2020, it emerged that just one in nearly 500 short term property lets in Edinburgh has proper planning permission, according to a report describing the 'staggering pattern of unlawful activity' of holiday flat rentals across the city.
And last month, it was reported that Edinburgh City Council has been inundated with over 130 applications for short-term lets since the start of April – sparking fears that the city’s planning department is not fully equipped to handle the influx of requests.
Airbnb said there are “serious consequences” for guests who breach the party ban, varying from the suspension of their account to being permanently removed from the platform.
Around 6,600 people’s accounts were suspended last year for “attempting to violate our party ban”.
A 16-person occupancy cap for Airbnb listings introduced as part of the August 2020 ban has been lifted to allow listings for accommodation that can “comfortably” hold more than that number of people.
The company said in a statement: “From castles in Europe, to vineyards in the US, to large beachfront villas in the Caribbean, amazing properties like these thrive on hosting multi-generational family trips and larger groups, and removing this cap is meant to allow those hosts to responsibly utilise the space in their homes while still complying with our ban on disruptive parties.”
In late 2019, the firm prohibited parties advertised on social media as well as “chronic party houses” that had developed into “neighbourhood nuisances”.
It has also implemented rules to reduce disruption at certain times of year, such as banning customers in several countries including the UK from making one-night bookings for entire homes on New Year’s Eve unless they have a history of positive reviews.
Airbnb said: “This new and long-term policy was enacted to help encourage and support community safety.
“We look forward to sharing updates in the coming weeks and months on our efforts to complement our community policies on parties.”