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Airbnb bans security cameras indoors worldwide

Dan Latu   

Airbnb bans security cameras indoors worldwide
  • Starting April 30, Airbnb will ban any indoor security camera that could capture guest activities.
  • Cameras were previously allowed if they were disclosed in the online listing description.

Airbnb is officially banning the use of security cameras inside its listings, the short-term rental giant said Monday.

Hosts have until April 30 to remove any cameras from hallways, common rooms, and other interior spaces where they were previously permitted.

Until now, cameras were allowed inside Airbnbs if hosts disclosed their presence in their online listings, warning guests ahead of time. Now Airbnb said it is changing its policy to a blanket ban after consulting with "guests, hosts, and privacy experts."

Outdoor security cameras can remain in place, as long as they are disclosed in the listings. Doorbell cameras and noise monitors will still be allowed. Cameras in sleeping areas were previously banned by Airbnb.

After April 30, reported violations of the policy could result in the removal of a host's listing or their entire account, according to a statement from Airbnb on the security camera ban.

Airbnb security cameras divide hosts and guests

Hosts and guests have clashed in the past on the use of security cameras in Airbnbs.

Some hosts have maintained that cameras are integral to the upkeep of their short-term rentals, allowing them to hold guests accountable for damage or prevent parties from being thrown. (Parties are also banned by Airbnb.)

Arizona host Zach Narus told Business Insider in 2023 that cameras afforded him "peace of mind" during guest stays. Narus believed the cameras kept guests "honest" and also allowed him to troubleshoot issues that might arise as he managed a two-bedroom cabin remotely.

Lisa Lewis said last year that cameras were essential to running her two-bedroom rental in Foley, Alabama, a city near the Gulf of Mexico's beaches and the Florida border.

She said used the footage to make sure guests were not unaccompanied minors and that they were not hosting large get-togethers. Lewis said she also used the camera to charge $100 to guests who attempted to check in early or check out late without first informing her.

Some guests, however, have expressed concerns about feeling watched.

One person posted on Twitter in 2021 that they were spied on while using the pool at an Airbnb after 11 p.m. In 2019, Florida resident Max Vest told The Atlantic that he found undisclosed cameras in a Miami Airbnb. He saw tiny lights while he was sleeping and quickly left the rental.

"I didn't know if I was being watched live," he told The Atlantic.

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