Illegal lockdown parties hosted in online rentals
Blocking parties hosted in properties booked through online sites, including Airbnb and Booking.com, are putting “communities” at risk, the Bed and Breakfast Association said.
The hosts and residents complained of groups of up to 30 who break the rules of social expulsion and take drugs.
BBC News has been informed of several of these parties in the past month.
Airbnb has suggested that it has gone beyond its rivals to protect public health during the pandemic.
However, a man was stabbed last week at a party on a police property in South London that he believed had been rented through the platform.
Following a previous BBC investigation into “coronavirus withdrawals”, Airbnb had told users that they could make reservations if they were key workers or only required “essential stays”.
But this limitation must be lifted, in line with local regulations on hotels and self-catering accommodation, in:
- Northern Ireland on June 26
- England on 4th July
- Wales on July 13
- Scotland on July 15th
The rival Booking.com platform does not currently report these limits.
“While B & Bs and guesthouses have closed since March 23, these giant platforms appear to have made reservations and enabled so-called” block parties “, which have put guests, guests, neighbors and communities at risk,” Bed David Weston, president of the Breakfast and Breakfast Association, said.
“It is time for these global platforms to take some responsibility for the safety of their guests, their accommodation and show some respect for local communities.”
Although the BBC has found evidence that some of the reservations involved were made through Airbnb, the hosts involved asked that their details not be shared with the company.
As a result, the platform said it saw no evidence to link accidents with its business.
“We are the only platform to temporarily and voluntarily block UK calendars from accepting new bookings on an ongoing basis since April, in line with government legislation and emergency guidance,” he added.
“Already all unauthorized parties are banned on Airbnb and major events are banned for listings in condominiums. Our neighborhood support tool allows anyone to contact us with concerns related to an listing in their community and we take action on issues brought to our attention. “
Booking.com did not respond to a request for comment.
Darya Simanovich, who runs Chelsea Creperie but rents a property on Airbnb and Booking.com for extra income, said it has been “blown away” many times since the blockade began in late March by guests who they presented themselves as key workers, who had turned out to be organizing illegal parties.
“I haven’t been able to meet the guest because of restrictions,” he said of one instance.
“The key collection was without contact.
“But since I live above the property, I have seen a lot of people coming in, playing music.
“So I had to ask them to leave.
“Leaving your home is a matter of trust.
“It is difficult to think that people are breaking the rules, especially when the landlords have lost revenue.
“I don’t think the new guidelines will change anything.
“People will continue to bend the rules.”
Danial Abbas, who also hosts an apartment on both platforms, said a group of over 10 people held a party there until 04:00 BST last week.
“I didn’t have any problems until the blockade,” he said.
“It is disappointing that people break the rules and create inconvenience at a time when people already feel nervous.
“I’m sad to have created an extra risk.”
Another guest, who asked to remain anonymous, had a group of young adults partying on his property.
“I’m less at risk,” he said.
“They feel difficult to do, since blocking measures are largely for older people.
“They feel like they’re getting lost, so it doesn’t matter if they break the rules.”
“Guide not applicable”
Next month, people in England will be able to meet indoors in groups of up to two families.
But there is concern that this will be difficult to apply in short-term publications.
“The guide as it is is not applicable,” said Holiday Home Association CEO Martin Sach.
“It is too complicated and does not read.
“So self-catering owners are unable to oversee this.
“You cannot verify the relationship of your guests.”
Merilee Karr, who chairs the UK Short Term Accommodation Association, which represents short-term rental companies, including Airbnb, said that people should only make reservations if they had legitimate reasons for doing so, such as being a key worker or having need hospital treatment.
“We have been vigilant and very strict in taking reservations during the blockade and have openly opposed anyone who violated the guidelines,” he said.
“We totally disapprove of those who booked accommodation incorrectly to carry out an activity that is not within the guidelines of the government and take action where this is discovered.”
A rented neighbor, who asked to remain anonymous, told BBC News: “I live in a quiet area of London.
“But since the blockade, and in the past four weeks, there have been four parties in my street.
“You can spot them immediately.
“They stay only for one night, arrive in groups of up to 20 people, enter and leave the house.
“I was kept up all night by the loud music that played until 05:00.
“And you can see and smell evidence of taking drugs.
“When it happens, I wanted to knock on the door and face them.
“But I have no idea who these people are, which can be scary and threatening, especially when we don’t intend to be in the crowd.
“It’s happening because people currently have nowhere else to go.
“And they want to drink and socialize.
“It is necessary to act.
“It’s not fair to have a party house in the middle of a residential area, especially during a pandemic.”