Airbnb will stop renting entire homes to new guests under 25 years old as it tries to eliminate party houses from its platform — homes that have been associated with violent incidents such as a Friday shooting that left three men dead in a downtown Toronto condo.
Chris Lehane, Airbnb’s San Francisco based vice-president of global policy and communications, flew in Wednesday to announce a series of new security measures and a donation of $300,000 over three years to Canadian Doctors for Protection from Guns, a group that raises awareness of the public health impacts of gun violence.
Unless they have “an established track record of positive reviews on Airbnb,” Canadians under 25 will no longer be allowed to rent entire homes in Canada, the company said in a Wednesday news release.
Those users will still be allowed to book hotel rooms and private rooms in an Airbnb home hosted by the principal resident.
The company is also launching a 24/7 neighbourhood support phone line in Canada that will be available in English starting on Monday. The number will be published at airbnb.ca/neighbours. A French-language line will be introduced later this year.
The measures, designed to reduce “unauthorized parties,” are in addition to a global party house ban the company announced on Nov. 2 in the wake of five deaths at a Halloween party at a rental in Orinda, Calif. Airbnb says some listings have been eliminated in major Canadian cities as a result of that ban.
Dr. Najma Ahmed, a trauma surgeon and co-founder of Canadian Doctors for Protection from Guns, said the announcement demonstrates Airbnb’s commitment to Toronto neighbourhoods.
“Our partnership will go a long way in helping to build public awareness around gun violence and providing insight on how to keep Canadians safe from guns,” she said in the release.
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