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Airbnb to limit bookings by people under 25 in Canada

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Airbnb hopes the pilot program it introduced in Canada will reduce violence and damage to properties. Lionel BONAVENTURE/AFP

Airbnb to limit bookings by people under 25 in Canada

People under 25 will no longer be able to rent local listings for entire homes on Airbnb in Canada, the company announced on Wednesday after a fatal shooting at a Toronto apartment booked through the website.

The restriction will apply only to homes young Airbnb users attempt to rent within the communities where they already live.

Guests under 25 years will still be able to book a private room within a host’s primary residence, and could be exempted from the prohibition if they receive positive evaluations in at least three recent stays.

The aim is to curb unauthorised use of Airbnb properties, including for “unauthorised parties,” Airbnb senior vice-president Chris Lehane told a press conference.

“We know from our research that 99.9 per cent of the people on Airbnb are good people . . . and treat homes like their own homes,” he said.

“We have a 0.3 per cent incident rate across our platform when it comes to issues involving property damage and a 0.6 per cent incident rate when it involves personal security issues.

“Those numbers,” he said, “get higher when you’re looking at . . . reservations made by people under 25 . . . within the community they live in.”

The pilot, if it succeeds in reducing violence and damage to properties, may be applied in other jurisdictions, he said.

It comes just days after three men aged 19, 20 and 21 were shot dead at a Toronto downtown waterfront neighbourhood apartment. Two others were injured.

On January 8, an 18-year-old was also killed at an Airbnb-rented house in downtown Ottawa.

And in October, a gunman opened fire at a house party in Orinda, California that was an Airbnb rental. Four men and a woman were killed.

Lehane also announced a 24-hour hotline for neighbours who suspect mischief at an Airbnb property, as well as a partnership with a group of Canadian doctors lobbying for stricter gun control laws.

Airbnb says that two million people stay at its listed homes in 100,000 cities every night.

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