Real Estate

AirBnB Blocks Under Age 25 From Booking In Canada After Toronto Violence

Airbnb restricts users under age 25

To prevent so-called "party house" violence, Airbnb has begun restricting some bookings in Canada from renters under the age of 25.

The move comes after several bookings off the popular rental service have ended in violence; the most recent incident was last week in Toronto that left three dead. The restriction went into effect as a pilot program, according to the published reports Wednesday (Feb. 5).

According to a spokesperson, the company wouldn't say whether it intends to extend the age limits to any other markets, and they said users under 25 years old wouldn't be restricted from applying for bookings further away from their test area. And it added that some users might be exempt if the company had records of them that were positive overall.

The reason for the move could be explained by an incident last week, in a Toronto Airbnb listing, where three people were killed, including one said to be a victim of suicide, according to the Financial Times. Also, an October incident saw five people killed at a party in Orinda, California, which is near San Francisco. The company said it would "continue to employ" security measures in Canada and worldwide that would keep its services safe.

Airbnb is prepared to go public later this year, though its record on safety and trust would be considered a black mark on that attempt, as it could be subject to local laws, which has happened already in other markets. In a statement last month, the company said it would be working on the issue and trying to enact safety initiatives to the tune of $150 million. Those initiatives include 24-hour hotlines for upset neighbors and the installation of noise detectors, which could alert users to disturbances.

Airbnb will also be tying staff bonuses to progress on safety, and Chief Operating Officer Belinda Johnson will step down next month to join the company board.

It has 15-year Disney veteran Catherine Powell heading up its Experiences Division as it tries to expand into broader markets. And the company has voiced support for more transparency and regulation going forward in the EU.

Airbnb is privately valued at $30 billion, according to Pitchbook.



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