Airbnb Announces Major Policy Change to Protect Guest Privacy

Airbnb will no longer allow hosts to use indoor security cameras in rental properties, the company announced on Monday.

The change has been enacted as part of Airbnb's efforts to simplify its policy on security cameras and prioritize guest privacy. Until now, the company has permitted the use of security cameras in indoor common areas such as hallways and living rooms, as long as they cameras were disclosed on the listing page prior to booking and were clearly visible. However, any kind of cameras have always been prohibited in rooms such as sleeping areas and bathrooms.

Airbnb will continued to allow doorbell cameras and devices such as noise decibel monitors as an "effective, privacy-protective way" for hosts to to monitor home security. But those devices will also have to be disclosed before guests book, as well as the general location of any outdoor cameras.

"Our goal was to create new, clear rules that provide our community with greater clarity about what to expect on Airbnb," said Juniper Downs, Airbnb’s Head of Community Policy and Partnerships, in a blog post. "These changes were made in consultation with our guests, Hosts and privacy experts, and we’ll continue to seek feedback to help ensure our policies work for our global community.”

The change comes as Airbnb has seen mounting backlash from travelers who are increasingly opting to stay to hotels due to issues like hidden fees in listings, inaccurate listings, excessive pre-checkout chores, subpar customer service, and even scams.

In fact, the policy update comes just over a week after Saturday Night Live lambasted indoor security cameras in a sketch about cameras in the toilets of Airbnb rental properties, featuring host Sydney Sweeney.

Hosts who currently have indoor security cameras in their rental properties are being given until April 30 to remove them. After that, hosts who are found to be in violation of the new policy could risk consequences such as having their listing or account removed from the platform.