Another Airbnb house party ends in a shooting. What the company plans to do about it
Airbnb plans to pursue legal action against a Sacramento customer who hosted an unauthorized party in a rental home that ended with three people being shot.
The legal threat, announced Monday, marks the first time Airbnb will seek damages against a customer for throwing a party. It also comes after the company faced intense criticism last year after a shooting at another party held at one of its rentals in Orinda, Calif., that left five people dead and at least four others injured.
Airbnb alleges that the customer, whom the company has yet to publicly identify, was negligent and violated local health orders—which prohibit social and community gatherings—and booked the rental under false pretenses. The customer has been removed from Airbnb’s service.
“Airbnb has no tolerance for unauthorized parties,” Ben Breit, Airbnb spokesman, said in a statement.
On Saturday, authorities responded to several 911 calls about the shooting of three people, all in their twenties, at the Sacramento rental. All the victims were transported to a nearby hospital in stable condition. Police have not named any suspects.
Airbnb could not confirm exactly what legal action it intended to pursue and when or where it would file said actions. But the company said it is seeking “legal claims” and “damages” against the guest and that any money Airbnb recovers will be donated to a Sacramento nonprofit that fights gun violence.
For months, Airbnb has been ramping up its fight against unauthorized parties and trying to improve customer safety amid the pandemic. Those concerns about COVID-19 have curtailed reservations, complicating Airbnb’s planned filing for an initial public offering this year.
Following last year’s shooting at a Halloween party in Orinda, Airbnb debuted new safety measures, including a hotline manned by a rapid response team that neighbors can call. It also said it planned to increase the manual screening of reservations its systems flag as “high risk,” taking into account factors like length of stay and size of the property.
Airbnb also banned party houses, or homes that are listed only for the hosting of big parties. Airbnb still allows parties to be hosted with permission from the homeowner, as long they adhere to all local rules. Airbnb also implemented a new policy that prohibits customers under the age of 25 and who have fewer than three positive reviews from booking entire homes near where they live.
Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky previously told Fortune that he estimates the company’s new focus on safety will cost it an extra $150 million in 2020. It’s unclear if that plan has changed since the coronavirus outbreak. In May, Airbnb laid off nearly 2,000 employees, or 25% of its workforce.