Airbnb has announced that it will begin testing new regulations across Canada this month that will ban local guests under the age of 25 from booking entire homes.
Guests under 25 years old will still be able to book a private room within a host’s primary residence listing, but won’t be able to rent an “un-hosted home” within a certain geographical distance of where they’re living, according to spokesperson Chris Lehane. The company hasn’t specified what that distance would be.
Lehane announced changes to the company’s security measures at a news conference in Toronto, which started at 1:30 p.m. ET.
The new security regulations come in an effort to “reduce instances of unauthorized parties,” Airbnb said in a statement Wednesday. The idea is one the company says is backed by data suggesting issues related to house parties often occur in areas where the renter lives.
Project relies on user-provided information
Airbnb says the measure relies on user-provided information and “user verification systems.”
“We’re not infallible … there are ways that people are going to circumvent systems,” Lehane said.
The company is also introducing a “24/7 neighbourhood support telephone hotline” in Canada to connect residents with “rapid response agents” who will deal with concerns.
It says people under 25 who meet certain criteria, like having positive reviews, will still be able to book entire homes locally.
Lehane said the company is also launching a partnership with the Canadian Doctors for Protection from Guns, under which Airbnb will provide $300,000 over a three-year period to increase public awareness about gun violence.
Pilot project follows deadly shooting
The pilot project comes just days after a shooting in downtown Toronto last week that left three people dead and two others injured.
The shooting happened at a rented Airbnb in a downtown condo building on Friday night, near Bathurst Street and Fort York Boulevard. Police received several 911 calls at 10:21 p.m. reporting the sound of gunshots.
The victims have been identified as Jalen Colley, 21, of Brampton, Ont., Joshua Gibson-Skeir, 20, of Brampton and Tyronne Noseworthy, 19, of Toronto.
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Written by Julia Knope for cbc.ca