Young holidaymakers may find their plans cancelled after Airbnb says it is banning users under 25 from renting properties.
The holiday rental company has published a new set of rules aimed at targeting problem guests and banning raucous parties from their properties.
"Reducing the number of unauthorised house parties on Airbnb has always been a priority, and it's more important now than ever," the company said in a statement.
The new initiatives have been launched in US and Canada to promote responsible travel during the current public health crisis, but are also a way to keep hosts and communities on side.
To do this the platform has decided to lock out certain users under the age of 25 from booking stays. Particularly it will target groups of younger guests looking to book entire properties within their neighbourhood – a red flag that the company has taken as a signal that a house party is being planned.
However the new, seemingly arbitrary age restrictions have been drawn up based on previous problems the company has experienced and complaints from hosts and communities.
In New Zealand the automated booking process and easy access to rental accommodation has led to problems such as a 2018 incident in which saw a party of 300 students book into a property in Half Moon Bay.
"We know that people over the age of 24 are perfectly capable of booking a home for the wrong reasons, too. But based on the positive impact this policy has had on unauthorised parties booked by guests under 25, we believe this is the right action to continue to protect the safety of our community."
There are exceptions to this new rule. Guests under 25 will still be able to book private rooms in hotels or hostels via the website. Younger guests with over three positive reviews and no negative reviews will also be exempt from the restrictions.
"The overwhelming majority of guests treat Airbnb listings like they're in their own homes and neighbourhoods, and 99.95% of trips on Airbnb have no safety-related issues reported," the company said.
Currently only affecting listings in the US and Canada, Airbnb has not set a date for when these new age restrictions might be applied in New Zealand.