Media spotlight on lockdown parties in Airbnb and other short-lets

The BBC has shone a spotlight on lockdown parties being held in contravention of social distancing rules at properties advertised on Airbnb and other short let online websites.

The corporation quotes the Bed and Breakfast Association as saying the parties are putting “communities at risk” as gatherings of up to 30 people have been the subject of complaints from neighbours.

“BBC News has been told of several such parties in the past month” it says in a story on BBC Online.

Following a previous BBC News investigation into “Coronavirus retreats”, Airbnb had told users they could make bookings only if they were key workers or required “essential stays”.

But that restriction is being lifted over the next three weeks in different parts of the UK.

“While B&Bs and guest houses have been closed since 23 March, it seems these giant platforms have allowed bookings to be made and enabled the so-called ‘lockdown parties’, which have put guests, hosts, neighbours and communities at risk” Bed and Breakfast Association chairman David Weston tells the BBC.

“It is about time these global platforms took some responsibility for the safety of their guests, their accommodation and showed some respect for local communities.”

A statement to the BBC from Airbnb says: “We have zero tolerance for illegal activity and Airbnb is the only platform to limit all UK bookings to essential travel for key workers until restrictions are lifted.

“We also explicitly ban party houses and our neighbourhood support tool enables anyone to contact us with concerns about a listing in their community, and we take action on issues brought to our attention.”

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