Airbnb To Verify All 7 Million Listings

Announce Slate Of Changes In Response To Fatal Orinda Shooting

KCBS Radio Morning News
November 07, 2019 - 11:40 am
Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky speaks at the New York Times DealBook conference

Michael Cohen / Getty Images for The New York Times

Airbnb has announced more changes to its business in the aftermath of a house party shooting that killed five people in Orinda last week.

CEO Brian Chesky said this is a critical time for the home rental company to regain the trust of its guests, and announced plans to verify all property listings and host by Dec. 15, 2020. That affects seven million homes, apartments and other venues. 

Speaking at the New York Times DealBook conference Wednesday, Chesky said this will be a combination of company and guest verifications.

The company is also introducing a new guest guarantee policy that goes into effect on December 15. Guests who check into a property that does not match the online listing will either be re-booked into a listing of equal value or be given a full refund.

Airbnb is also expanding its hotline to take complaints from neighbors, which Chesky says will be staffed around the clock by real people who are trained by police and led by the company’s “rapid response team.”

The changes announced Wednesday expand on a previous announcement that the company would expand its screening of high-risk reservations and increase its efforts to prevent unauthorized parties.

The shooting occurred at an Airbnb property that had been rented out on Halloween night for a party with about 100 guests.

While the party was not authorized by the host or the company, neighbors said that Airbnb had previously ignored their safety concerns about the house. 

The violence in Orinda may not be isolated. At least 42 people have been shot on or directly adjacent to short-term rentals in the past six months, and 17 have died according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

The city of Orinda has placed a 45-day moratorium on short-term rentals where the host is not present on the property while the city considers long-term changes to its house-sharing policy.

Chesky says the tragedy represents a critical moment for the company, which is being echoed throughout the technology industry.

“Many of us in this industry over the last 10 years are going from a ‘hands-off’ model where the internet is an immune system to realizing that’s not really enough, that we have to take more responsibility for the stuff on our platform," said Chesky. "And I think this has been a gradual – maybe too gradual — transition for our industry.”