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Airbnb Bans Parties and Caps All Listings 16 Guests and Seeks IPO, Sonoma County Limits Rentals, Hawaii Pausing Reopening Again

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Good news - it’s Friday!

In answer to the recent house party shootings that have been in the news, Airbnb banned parties and events outright, worldwide, and capped the occupancy for all listings to 16. Airbnb says that 16 people is no "magic number," and that they will "continue to enforce our party rules against groups of any size and will be taking action both on guests and listings if we receive reports from neighbors." 

Um…  What about legitimate large-event properties that cater to big groups?  Lodges that sleep 40?  Wedding halls?  Over-reactions don’t go well when you have millions of clients with many different types of businesses.

Airbnb then said on Wednesday that they have filed confidentially for an IPO in the US. Back in July, Airbnb stated that customers had booked more than 1 million nights in a single day for the first time since March 3, so let the good times roll. Airbnb did not give a date for when it may complete its IPO, but they are shooting for the end of the year.  This isn’t the first time Airbnb has looked into IPO’ing, so maybe this is just some marketing fodder?

First COVID, then Biggest Booking Day ever, then House Party Shootings, then IPO…  What a year for Airbnb.  Someone needs to ship a case of Xanax to 888 Brannan Street.

On Tuesday, Sonoma County Board of Supervisors temporarily approved capping the number of vacation rental homes allowed in most unincorporated parts of the county. This decision promptly limits vacation rentals to 1,943 homes, which represents the total rental permits already issued. In other words, they slammed the door shut on anyone new, but the existing VRs are grandfathered in.  The measure will be in effect for 45 days. But the board will likely extend the temporary rental permit limit, which could potentially remain in place for up to two years.

Sonoma County claims that this is due to the detrimental effect of rentals on the housing market and local neighborhoods - an often repeated line by county administrators in other parts of the country.  This temporary action will allow supervisors to gather data and public input for a permanent policy.  We are not aware of any evidence that supports this, so hopefully the data they gather will outweigh the public input.

If you were planning an island vacation, think again. Hawaii Governor David Ige officially stated they will be pushing back the reopening date to October 1st “at the earliest” as the islands continue to see increasing numbers of COVID cases. The state's current mandatory 14-day quarantine after arrival will remain in place through the end of the summer. It is unclear if the new October 1st reopening date will actually occur.  It may be extended in the coming weeks.

A warm Mahalo to all our Hawaii friends! We’re pulling for you! 🙏