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Salam Toronto Weekly English February 06, 2020 82 Airbnb limits young people’s ability to rent properties following deadly shooting Toronto - Airbnb will limit young adults’ ability to book some properties in Canada in a pilot project aimed at cutting down on unauthorized parties like the one where 3 young men were killed in Toronto over the weekend. The company will prohibit people under the age of 25 from booking local listings for entire homes in Canada, company executive Chris Lehane announced Wednesday, insisting such bookings are far more likely to lead to security incidents but refusing to provide numbers to support the claim. “Three young men lost their lives on Friday night. Nothing we’re going to say or do will bring back those lives, but we’re certainly going to talk about what we should do from a responsibility perspective,” said Lehane, senior vice-president of global policy and communications. About 0.03% of Airbnb bookings result in property damage and 0.06% result in security incidents, Lehane said. The Friday-night shooting happened during a party in a condo unit that was rented out through Airbnb. It’s just the latest incident to highlight fears around Airbnb parties. Late last year, Airbnb announced a ban on so-called “party houses” after 5 people were killed at a Halloween party at a rental in Orinda, California, that was listed on its site. The ban prohibited “open-invite” parties in which organizers open up the home to anyone who wants to attend, for instance by advertising on social media. The new measure will have some leniency for young people with a positive track record on Airbnb, Lehane said. Those under 25 who have at least 3 positive reviews will be able to book entire homes locally. He said there will be a certain radius from a person’s home address in which they won’t be allowed to book a full residence, but said the company would be keeping that number secret to make it harder to circumvent the measure. The company will monitor the initiative’s effectiveness in real time and decide whether to roll it out globally, he said. But David Wachsmuth, an assistant professor at McGill University and Canada Research Chair in urban governance, said the announcement seems like something of a half-measure, targeting individuals instead of following through on the promise to ban party houses. “This really to me feels like of a piece with so many of the PR moves Airbnb engages in,” he said. The company has said it is removing such listings from its site, but Wachsmuth said he still regularly sees them. The Canadian Press

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