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Airbnb acts to ban ‘party houses’ after five killed in Halloween shooting

A woman who rented the property in a San Francisco suburb lied to the host about her reasons for the rental.

Police at the scene of the shooting in Orinda, California (Ray Chavez/East Bay Times via AP)
Police at the scene of the shooting in Orinda, California (Ray Chavez/East Bay Times via AP)

By Dee-Ann Durbin, Associated Press

Airbnb has vowed to ban “party houses” in the wake of a deadly shooting at a rented property in California.

In a series of tweets on Saturday, Airbnb co-founder and chief executive Brian Chesky said the San Francisco-based company is stepping up efforts to “combat unauthorised parties and get rid of abusive host and guest conduct”.

He said Airbnb is expanding manual screening of “high risk” reservations that are flagged by its system, and is also forming a rapid response team dedicated to house parties.

The company will remove guests who fail to comply, Mr Chesky said.

It comes after five people were killed in a Halloween party shooting in the San Francisco suburb of Orinda.

Police said more than 100 people had gathered for the party.

The home, surrounded by trees and up a steep driveway, had been rented on Airbnb by a woman who told the owner her large family needed a location with fresh air to escape wildfires near their home.

A one-night rental on Halloween was suspicious enough that the owner reminded the renter that no parties were allowed.

Michael Wang, who owns the four-bedroom house, said his wife contacted the renter on Thursday night after neighbours told them about the party.

The renter, who has not been identified, said there were only a dozen people at the home but Mr Wang said he could see more people on video from his doorbell camera.

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The shooting took place at an Airbnb property rented by a woman who lied to the host (AP)

“We called the police. They were on the way to go there to stop them, but before we got there the neighbour already sent us a message saying there was a shooting,” he told the San Francisco Chronicle in a phone interview.

“When we arrived there, the police were already there.”

Mr Chesky said in a tweet: “What happened on Thursday night in Orinda was horrible. I feel for the families and neighbours impacted by this tragedy. We are working to support them.”

House parties have long been an issue for Airbnb.

In 2018, Airbnb permanently banned a man who crammed more than 250 people into an Airbnb rental in Seven Hills, Ohio, for an unauthorised new year party while his host hid in a bedroom.

In July, two people were killed during a party at an Airbnb in Pittsburgh.

PA

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