RESIDENTS have scorned a holiday letting website, saying that its plans to crack down on parties will do little to deter “revolting” revellers.

Airbnb announced yesterday that a ban on people hiring properties via its website to host parties will become permanent.

The platform put a temporary ban in place during lockdown, as large groups rented entire properties to hold events while bars were shut.

But as problems across Brighton and Hove continue to fester, residents have had enough – with some saying even the new action will not go far enough.

“The difficulty is, I don’t know how Airbnb can actually enforce this,” said David Mead.

The Argus: David mead has experienced issues in Upper Lewes Road for yearsDavid mead has experienced issues in Upper Lewes Road for years

David has lived in Upper Lewes Road for seven years and experiences issues with parties in the area.

He is regularly woken during the night with thumping music blaring through his walls which rattles the chinaware in his kitchen.

“I’d say to anybody ‘don’t come down to an Airbnb and wreck the standard of living and the quality of life for the people that surround you’, but they don’t care – they’re not going take any notice,” he said.

“Anything that Airbnb can do to deter these revolting, toxic party animals causing absolute mayhem - or these people who rent their homes out with disregard for the behaviour of people in them – is fantastic.”

One anonymous source, who lives in a mid-terraced property next to an Airbnb, told The Argus that they too experience issues.

They said: “The issues go deeper than your immediate thoughts of noise, mess, foul language and strippers in the garden.”

It comes after a home worth an estimated £2 million in Dorset’s Sandbanks area was trashed in March last year, after the property was booked for a two-night stay via Airbnb, with around 60 people attending.

Just two month later, a four-bedroom home in Maidstone, Kent, drew crowds of “more than 100 people”, residents said.

They said there was booming music all night long at the property, which was also rented via the platform.

There has, however, been much support for the permanent ban.

Labour Councillor Jackie O’Quinn, who represents Goldsmid Ward and has long been working with residents who experience problems with holidays lets, said she welcomes the decision.

The Argus: PartygoersPartygoers

“I’m delighted that Airbnb are making it permanent because we’ve had so many complaints, where people have actually put extensions on their houses, and put hot tubs in the garden, so they can add more people to the hen parties, and so on,” she said.

“It’s quite extraordinary what people do – some people have even put hot tubs in the garage. Residents sent us photographs of these two guys in the hot tub with the garage doors open.

“It is unreal what people will do to make more money.

“I’m really pleased for them because it has caused a lot of issues for residents with noise and disturbance.

“People would go out, then they would go back to the party houses, and they could have alcohol delivered, and have their party in-house. And the more you drink, the noisier it would get.”

Airbnb has said that there are “serious consequences” for those who breach the party ban, varying from account suspension to the permanent removal of a person from the site.

It said that around 6,600 accounts were suspended last year for “attempting to violate our party ban”, and that since the temporary ban was introduced in August 2020, it has seen a 44 per cent year-on-year drop in complaints.

To combat the problem long-term, Airbnb is working with Professor Marian Novelli from the University of Sussex to develop a national registering system.

The idea would see listers required to register their properties with the government or devolved authority.

It means authorities would be able to notify platforms like Airbnb about issues with particular properties, which would prevent people from simply switching their listing to an alternative booking site.

“The ban is very much to preserve the interests of neighbourhoods,” said Prof Novelli.

“The principle behind it is to limit the impact of irresponsible travel and tourism patterns in neighbourhoods which would be negatively affected.

“Airbnb was never meant to become an estate market place, it was more to democratise the way people would travel and give opportunity to people – both hosts to rent a spare room, and people to travel in a more relaxed way.”

The Argus: Professor Marina NovelliProfessor Marina Novelli

Airbnb said: “This new and long-term policy was enacted to help encourage and support community safety.

“We look forward to sharing updates in the coming weeks and months on our efforts to complement our community policies on parties.”

Proposals for a national registering system are currently being worked on in government, with Prof Novelli attending a select committee to discuss it just a few weeks ago.

“Airbnb has been acting on problems that have emerged from their exponential growth – they have become a victim of their own success, in a way,” said Prof Novelli.

“One needs to recognise that any operation that grows beyond what was the initial purpose, has to deal with the consequences.

“There is a very important distinction to make within the short-term let market. There are entire properties being rented on the platform, there are spare rooms on the platform, and there are other things that one needs to consider.

“When we were discussing the register, we had consultations across different locations in the UK, and the main concern was, for example, a single mother with children who is just renting a spare room to pay her bills. You don’t want to have negative implications for those genuine people.

“So, the register itself is the way to address the problem, but still give the opportunity to those who use it genuinely.”