Airbnb cracks down on Alberta party houses, takes action against 44 properties

The Airbnb logo is displayed on a phone screen. Chesnot / Getty Images

Airbnb is cracking down on party houses in Alberta’s two biggest cities.

The short-term vacation rental company announced Wednesday it has taken action against 44 listings in Alberta — 24 in Calgary and 20 in Edmonton. It comes after Airbnb received complaints or learned of listings violating the company policy on parties and events.

Airbnb said the properties have been suspended or removed from its platform. The company would not release the property locations “out of respect for the privacy of the hosts and homeowners.”

Airbnb banned house parties worldwide in order to comply with coronavirus-related limits on social gatherings. The ban remains in place until further notice, Airbnb said.

Read more: Airbnb bans house parties worldwide amid coronavirus

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In March 2020, the company launched a 24/7 hotline in Canada, where neighbours can call the company to report concerns.

Issues raised by residents through the hotline led directly to some of the listing suspensions announced in Alberta Wednesday, Airbnb said.

“As new cases of COVID-19 continue to rise throughout the province, now is not the time for large gatherings and we support the efforts of local officials to curb this careless behaviour,” Airbnb’s Canadian public policy manager Nathan Rotman said in a news release.

“By sharing out these steps today, we hope to bring greater awareness to our 24/7 neighbourhood support hotline which helps to strengthen the enforcement of violations of our party ban.”

Read more: Airbnb removes more than 40 listings across Ontario in ‘crackdown on party houses’

The suspensions come one day after new restrictions were announced in Alberta aimed at curbing the spread of COVID-19. Premier Jason Kenney announced Tuesday a mandatory ban on all indoor social gatherings.

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Alberta declares state of public health emergency amid 2nd wave of COVID-19 – Nov 24, 2020

Earlier this year, Airbnb also announced restrictions on some bookings of entire home listings by Canadian guests under the age of 25.

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Alberta has recorded a total of 49,536 cases of COVID-19 and 492 deaths from the disease. Cases in Alberta have spiked in recent weeks, with 1,115 new cases reported Tuesday.

As of Tuesday, there were 13,349 active cases of COVID-19 in Alberta, with the majority of those in the Edmonton and Calgary zone. There are currently 348 Albertans in hospital with COVID-19, with 66 of those people being treated in intensive care.