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Airbnb sues guest over 'party house" booking, shootings

Vacation-rental company Airbnb said Wednesday that it plans to sue a guest who booked a home and threw a party there that resulted in three people being shot over the weekend in Sacramento County.

The San Francisco company said this is the first time it will sue a guest for throwing an unauthorized party. Airbnb told the guest, whose name it did not divulge, it planned to bring legal action alleging negligence along with violations of local health orders as well as company policies.

The company said it has removed the person from its marketplace and is seeking damages.

“Airbnb is committing that it will donate any money recovered through this proceeding to a local Sacramento nonprofit fighting against gun violence — the nonprofit will be chosen in consultation with leaders of the Airbnb host community in Sacramento,” company spokesman Ben Breit wrote in a statement.

A lawsuit would be the latest step the company has taken in cracking down on people booking homes on its websites and throwing unauthorized parties, some of which have resulted in shootings and deaths.

The company banned “party houses” after a deadly shooting in 2019 at a gathering in Orinda at a home booked on its site.

CEO Brian Chesky announced steps to curb party houses on the site soon thereafter, including removing listings and taking action against users who violate its rules. The company also created a response team to deal with party houses and a hotline that neighbors can call.

Last month the company also banned guests under 25 from booking entire homes close to where they live.

The legal action comes as the company is reportedly preparing for an initial public offering. Airbnb has seen its revenues plummet and in May cut 1,900 jobs, roughly 25% of its workforce, though Chesky recently said on a podcast that travel is recovering in some countries.

Article by: Chase DiFeliciantonio, a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. Email: Twitter: @ChaseDiFelice

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