Airbnb Bans Party Houses After Halloween Shooting in California

source: Pixabay

In a series of tweets Saturday, Airbnb's CEO Brian Chesky announced that the rental company bans "party houses" on its platform after five people were shot dead at a Halloween party held inside an Airbnb home in Northern California on Thursday. 

Chesky also added that the company is setting up a "rapid response team" to process the complaints of unauthorized parties. Furthermore, Airbnb is also expanding its manual screening of "high risk" groups and will remove guests who fail to comply with party policies at its rental homes, Chesky said. 

The ban enters into force immediately, Chesky pointed out.

Three people lost their lives after the shooting at the Halloween party in the city of Orinda, near San Francisco on Thursday night, police reported. Two more party-goers died later in the hospital. All the victims were under 30, according to the police report. 

Several other party guests were wounded, the police said without clarifying their exact number and injuries. Some of them transported themselves to the hospital.

The four-bedroom property had been rented for one night by a woman who told the owner that her dozen family members suffered from asthma and needed to escape the smoke from a wildfire nearby, the owner told the media.

The owner, Michael Wang, was suspicious, and before accepting the reservation, he reminded the client that parties were not allowed at the premises.

 Subsequently, the tenant advertised it on Instagram as the venue for a Halloween party, which attracted more than 100 participants. The host did not authorize the event, according to Airbnb.

At 9:19 p.m. and 10:25 p.m. on Thursday, the local police received noise complaints. At 10:48 p.m., an officer from Orinda police arrived on the spot, the sheriff said in a statement, highlighting that the suspect opened a fire minutes later.

By Saturday, Orinda police had not arrested or identified any suspects.

In March, Orinda city officials issued violations for exceeding the house's maximum occupancy and illegal parking, city manager Steve Salomon said. He also emphasized that the homeowner had resolved previous complaints lodged in February over occupancy and noise and in July over overflowing trash.

As per the local laws, the short-term rental hosts in Orinda should register their properties with the city annually and pay an occupancy tax. The maximum occupancy is 13 people, Salomon added.

Airbnb has banned the renter from the platform and removed his home from its listings, the company confirmed.

California Governor Gavin Newsom issued a statement in response to the tragedy, urging Congress to pass gun control legislation.

What do you think? Do you agree or disagree with the Airbnb's decision to ban party houses from its platform?