Airbnb suspends dozens of N.J. listings in house party crackdown

Police clear out the streets in a neighborhood where a huge, 700-person Airbnb party was held in a mansion in Jackson Township.Courtesy photo

Airbnb on Thursday began suspending and removing 35 listings in New Jersey after numerous complaints of house parties in violation of state restrictions on gatherings during the coronavirus pandemic, including one in Ocean County last weekend that drew hundreds.

Most of the suspensions that were announced Friday morning were the result of neighbors who had called Airbnb’s 24-hour hotline to complain about large, unauthorized parties, the company said in a statement.

“We stand with Gov. Murphy, and we support his call to action to stop parties and promote behavior that respects the public’s health,” said Chris Lehane, Airbnb Senior Vice President of Global Policy and Communications. “We ban party houses and will not tolerate irresponsible behavior on our platform.”

The move comes days after police broke up a mansion party at an Airbnb rental in Jackson Township that grew to over 700 people, clogging streets with traffic and prompting neighbors to call police.

Three people were charged with violating the governor’s executive order limiting gatherings, police said. Officials in Jackson Township later said they were moving ahead with a plan to ban short-term rentals.

In April, Airbnb had announced that it had temporarily removed the “parties and events allowed” rule from New Jersey listings that had authorized parties to take place.

“Stopping large gatherings is more important than ever in this current environment,” Airbnb said in Friday’s statement.

“The party house measures come on the heels of several other anti-party initiatives from Airbnb, including a strengthening of our policies to prohibit gatherings that violate public health mandates,” the statement said.

Anthony G. Attrino may be reached at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @TonyAttrino. Find on Facebook.

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