Wave header image graphic banner
Public Radio For Eastern North Carolina 89.3 WTEB New Bern 88.5 WZNB New Bern 91.5 WBJD Atlantic Beach 90.3 WKNS Kinston 88.1 W201AO Greenville 88.5 WHYC Swan Quarter
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Airbnb Sues Guest Whose Sacramento Party Drew Gunfire Injuring 3

Airbnb is going through a rough patch just as the rental home-sharing company is reportedly on the cusp of filing for an IPO later this month.

The company's latest challenge is dealing with a party-throwing renter whose large shindig ended with a shooting and three people injured.

Now, Airbnb says that for the first time, it will pursue legal measures against a guest for violating its party-house ban.

In a statement, the San Francisco-based company said the unnamed customer booked the short-term rental in Sacramento County under false pretenses and that in throwing the rager, they violated local health orders in place amid the coronavirus pandemic as well as Airbnb's community standards.

"This marks the first time Airbnb has taken affirmative steps to initiate legal proceedings against a booking guest for throwing an unauthorized party," the company said in a statement, adding that the rule-breaker has been banned from the platform.

In the run-up to Airbnb's imminent IPO filing, it has implemented a series of policies to help repair the company's reputation within communities that oppose the constant turnover of strangers in their neighborhoods, and to address accusations that it is contributing to a housing shortage.

Last year, after a similar shooting at a short-term rental where five people were killed, the company banned "party houses," pledging to expand "manual screening of high-risk reservations." The company also created a 24-hour hotline to deal with complaints from neighbors.

More recently, it prohibited some guests under 25 from booking entire home listings in their local area.

The initial public offering of the company's stock has been delayed due to the pandemic but is now expected later this month, according to the Wall Street Journal. Its current valuation is in the neighborhood of $18 billion dollars — a $13 billion drop from 2017. Additionally, the company expects this year's sales to be, at best, half of what they were last year.

It has also cut 25% of its workforce and laid off hundreds of contract workers as it tries to squeeze costs while borrowing $2 billion dollars.

With regard to the lawsuit in Sacramento, the company says it plans to donate any money recovered to a local non-profit fighting against gun violence.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Vanessa Romo
Vanessa Romo is a reporter for NPR's News Desk. She covers breaking news on a wide range of topics, weighing in daily on everything from immigration and the treatment of migrant children, to a war-crimes trial where a witness claimed he was the actual killer, to an alleged sex cult. She has also covered the occasional cat-clinging-to-the-hood-of-a-car story.