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Vrbo announced that the new policy to discourage parties, a month after Airbnb announced its own global pan on parties at its rental properties.
Short-term rental company Vrbo will ban one-night stays in Arizona to discourage parties and large gatherings during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.
In a letter to Gov. Doug Ducey sent this month, Vrbo’s parent company Expedia Group said that beginning in January, it would be “developing long-term solutions to help eliminate large gatherings that violate homeowners’ and/or Vrbo’s rules.”
The company plans to focus on “understanding and addressing potential issues during the reservation process and the stay, and having systems in place to identify bad actors after the fact to prevent future incidents,” according to the Arizona Republic.
The announcement comes roughly two months after Airbnb suspended or removed 50 short-term rentals in Arizona that had received complaints from residents or were found to have violated the company’s policies on parties and events.
“While a vast majority of hosts in Arizona take important steps to prevent unauthorized parties, like establishing house rules, quiet hours, and communicating in advance with their guests, our actions today address the small minority of hosts who have previously received warnings about hosting responsibility," Airbnb said in a statement on July 22.
A month later the company went further, announcing a global ban on all parties and events at Airbnb listings, along with an occupancy cap of 16 people. The policy was an update to an existing rule that already prohibited “unauthorized parties,” a move the company deemed necessary after public health guidelines on large gatherings—and related business closures— began to vary widely from place to place.
Some renters chose to congregate in Airbnb properties instead of bars or clubs, which “is incredibly irresponsible,” the company said in a statement. “We do not want that type of business, and anyone engaged in or allowing that behavior does not belong on our platform. Based on these developments, instituting a global pan on parties and events is in the best interest of public health.”
States across the country implemented varying restrictions on short-term rentals at the height of the pandemic, though many have loosened those rules as part of phased reopening plans. But residents and local government officials in Arizona have complained about house parties in recent months.
Ducey, a staunch proponent of property owners’ rights, did not address short-term rentals specifically while Covid-19 spread in Arizona this summer, though a spokesman for the governor told the Arizona Republic last week that he was appreciative of Vrbo’s “proactive and cautious” approach.
As of Wednesday, there had been 209,907 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Arizona, and 5,371 deaths.
Kate Elizabeth Queram is a staff correspondent for Route Fifty and is based in Washington, D.C.