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Airbnb’s latest overreach? Guilt (and a ban) by association

You may have noticed staying in an Airbnb isn’t quite the footloose and fancy free ticket to freedom it appeared to be at one point.

Hosts are becoming overbearing with lists of demands for guests, and you often see these reports of guests being chewed out for not doing a series of basic household chores, despite paying the over-the-top cleaning fees.

Conversions to Airbnbs are lessening the amount of properties available to rent and further putting the squeeze on local rents and house prices. The company’s banning policies are thought to be quite draconian too, as it prioritises property owners over guests.

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Now the company has confirmed it often banning users from the service because it is thought they’re may travel with someone who has already been banned from making bookings.

A Motherboard report has revealed the company is removing accounts of people deemed to be “closely associated with a person who isn’t allowed to use Airbnb.” One user named Amanda, used as the example within the report, appealed the ban but it was upheld to “safeguard our community”. Airbnb refused to debate the issue any further.

Amanda told Motherboard that she used her boyfriend’s credit card to book the apartment. He has a criminal record. The company calls this type of behaviour a “necessary safety precaution”.

It told Motherboard: “For example, if someone is removed for a serious safety incident during an Airbnb reservation and we need to remove them and cancel their future reservations, and we then find that someone re-books the exact same future reservation with the same credit card number, we will remove the second account.”

Of course, the company has a responsibility to put strong safety policies in place and would be criticised for not having certain safeguards for property owners and communities. However, banning people because they’re associated with individuals who may be problematic does seem a little over the top.

Remember hotels? Fresh towels every day, no cleaning, and room service? Doesn’t sound so bad after all does it?

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