Airbnb –Set to Ban Under 25 From Renting Properties in the UK

By Temitayo Adelami


OVERVIEW

As a safety precautionary measure, the vacation rental online marketplace company, Airbnb has moved to ban customers less than the age of 25 with repeat negative reviews from hiring local homes through its platform. This move followed what was a series of complaints from hosts on the platform, of antisocial behaviour of consumers with a significant population of the complained demographic being under the age of 25. However, the policy exempts users of that demographic that have more than three positive reviews and have no negative reviews on their profile.



This policy which started in Canada as a means of preventing “party houses” spiralling into violence, is to curb unauthorized house parties in Airbnb houses, with a majority of those parties allegedly being conducted by guests less than 25. This followed with stringent rules put in place to comply with social distancing rules such as the removal of the "event friendly" and "parties and events allowed" search filters.

Additionally, following rental in California at around November last year, where 5 people were shot and killed, the response by Airbnb was an intense effort to ban house parties in rented apartments.

The firm took further steps by indicating that it could take legal action against any host or guest that circumvented the new rules and also set up a hotline where concerned neighbours could report concerns about one of their rentals.


COULD IT BE DISCRIMINATORY?

Concerns have grown in the UK, that this move might be discriminatory as section 4 of the Equality Act 2010, prohibits discriminatory acts based on age. However, as alluded by Michael Newman, a discrimination and employment partner at Leigh Day solicitors, the decision can be challenged on legal grounds but was unlikely to win as Airbnb had put in measures, such as requesting good user reviews before letting out properties. Furthermore, an exception to the act will be having legitimate aims when placing such restrictions. In recent instances, Airbnb has relied on the novel coronavirus as a means towards placing constraints on guests under 25.


PLAUSIBLE ECONOMIC IMPACTS

The economic effects that this pose vary. Looking at data from an Airbnb report in 2019, over 35 per cent of users of Airbnb services in the UK were under 25. This could potentially mean the loss of this consumer base by the vacation service. However, we are not privy to statistics indicating the number of under 25 users that have more than three positive reviews.


Furthermore, analysts have attributed this move to Airbnb demonstrating itself as a responsible brand in the technology space as the company just recently launched an initial public offering {IPO}. In April, the San Francisco based firm it raised $2bn (£1.5bn) from investors, who valued it at $18bn {£13.5bn}.


WHAT IS AN IPO?

An IPO represents an initial public offering. This is the procedure by which a private corporation will go public by selling its products to the general public. With the aid of investment banks, the corporation that sells its shares, known as an 'issuer,' does so. Shares of the company are traded in a competitive stock exchange following an IPO.


In all, this move by Airbnb reflects corporate firms' intention to comply with current laws and to view themselves as a responsible business going forward.


21 views

Welcome to TLA where it is our goal to Encourage, Unify and Educate individuals interested in the evolving world of law!     Learn More