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Why Kenyan Airbnb users may defy ban on parties

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Players in the Kenyan Airbnb market have adopted a wait-and-see approach following a permanent ban on parties by the giant short-term rental company. 

Though the ban was already there since August 2020 to reduce the risk of individuals contracting Covid-19, the company last month adopted it officially as a ban. 

According to the party and events policy, gatherings of more than 16 people are prohibited as well as all disruptive parties and events.

“Guests who are reported for throwing a disruptive party or violating our rules on gatherings of more than 16 people are subject to suspension or removal from Airbnb’s platform,” the policy reads in part.

It adds that in some cases, guest reviews left after such parties may be removed.

“We may also remove listings if we determine that a host has authorised a party that violates this policy,” it reads.

“If we receive reports that a listing is disrupting the surrounding community, we may request that the host update their rules or suspend the listing.”

Baby showers, bachelor parties, graduation celebrations and get-togethers are common with Airbnb listings.

Fully booked

Following this ban, the listings explicitly advertising themselves as party-friendly in the country show that they have been fully booked hence no client can reserve.

One such is Naivasha Party House which describes itself as a perfect place for a family or a group of friends. It says it has a great backyard for a barbecue with friends.

“The three rooms are incredible for a bridal party, birthday party or any kind of party,” the description further reads. “All in all, the party house is great for socialising and ensuring space for everyone.”

The new policy says until further notice, gatherings of more than 16 people whether day or night are prohibited.

Additional rules

Weighing into the issue, an owner of Airbnb rental property said it all will depend on the clients they get and situations will be handled as they come.

It means to a business person like him that if it makes business sense to host individuals who want to party, of course with some additional rules and cost, he will.

“It also depends on where your property is. Or how crazy the said party will be. There are those neighbours who will report you in case of noise while there are others who do not mind,” he said.

The policy reads that when a property that’s listed on Airbnb is causing a disturbance - whether that’s excessive noise, a disruptive party, a gathering of more than 16 people, or unsafe behaviour - members of the local community can report it to a Neighbourhood Support, which provides a link to local emergency services.

“They’ll also have access to the Neighbourhood Support team phone number, where they can report a party that’s still in progress. Once an issue is reported, Airbnb will send a confirmation email explaining what happens next,” reads the policy.

Maurice Ochieng, the proprietor of Property & Discounts which deals with short-term rentals and distressed property, said he does not think the ban will affect the business environment.

“To Kenya, Airbnb as a concept it’s a place is like an escalated lodging. It means experience, it is not just a place to sleep; it is not about parties or such,” he said. “It (ban) will not affect.”

He said the majority of Airbnb clients are good individuals who follow rules just a few who go overboard.