BISBEE — Fifty properties in Arizona cities, including Bisbee, were either suspended or removed from Airbnb’s rental platform due to complaints and violations of its policies over the weekend.

“Stopping large gatherings is more important than ever in this current environment,” said Ben Breit, public affairs spokesman for Airbnb, in a Wednesday press release.

“The party house measures come on the heels of several other anti-party initiatives from Airbnb, including recent policy changes to prohibit hosts from authorizing parties in Arizona as long as the state’s public health mandate prohibiting large gatherings remains in place.”

He told the Herald/Review would not identify the Bisbee properties due to privacy concerns.

Airbnb made the determinations due to “issues raised by neighbors, but there were also some other issues taken into account, like if you call your listing the ‘Bisbee Party House,’ for example. “That’s not something we allow,” continued Breit. “We’d suspend your listing.”

“We take into account various factors, in addition to the number of complaints, including how many neighbors are voicing concerns as well as the severity of the issues.”

The move follows Airbnb’s ban on party houses and commitment to safe and responsible travel, he said.

“While the vast majority of hosts in Arizona take important steps to prevent unauthorized parties — like establishing house rules, quiet hours, and communicating in advance with their guests — our actions today address the small minority of hosts who have previously received warnings about hosting responsibly. The suspensions were communicated to the hosts beginning last Friday and through the weekend.”

Last December, Airbnb set new Guest Standards covering five scenarios: excessive noise, unauthorized guests, unauthorized parking, unauthorized smoking and major cleanliness concerns requiring excessive cleaning after checkout, according to Margaret Richardson, Airbnb vice president of trust, on the website.

“These new guest standards create a clear and actionable enforcement framework for these scenarios and if it is determined that a guest has violated the new standards, the first violation will result in a warning and required education on Airbnb rules. Further violations may result in account suspension or removal,” she stated.

Along with Airbnb’s new standards, a 24/7 neighborhood support line was set up in the U.S. so neighbors could call anytime and reach a real person at Airbnb to report concerns.

“Issues raised by Arizonans through this hotline led directly to many of the listing suspensions announced today,” said Breit.

John Choi, Arizona Public Policy Director for Airbnb, stated in the press release, “It’s critical for hosts to prioritize safety and ensure their guests are behaving in a way that respects the public’s health. We know that there is more work to be done, and we ask that neighbors of properties allowing irresponsible behavior contact us as soon as possible and help us effectively enforce our party house ban.”

In addition to Bisbee, properties in Antler Crest Estates, Chandler, Flagstaff, Lake Havasu City, Mesa, Phoenix, Scottsdale, Sedona, Surprise, Tempe and Tucson were also removed or suspended, added Breit.

Mayor David Smith said he or the city staff were “unaware” of any problems with Airbnb’s listed Bisbee properties which number over 100 just in historic Old Bisbee.

“I’m happy to hear Airbnb has taken steps to deal with the problems and realizes Arizona’s situation with COVID-19,” he added.

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