Airbnb's Unexpected Home Security Ban Sets A New Standard For Rental Property Owners

Staying at an Airbnb has become one of the most common ways that travelers experience new places. While hotels are still popular, Airbnb normalized the notion of paying money to stay in a person's home — usually without the owner being present — with those rentals consisting of everything from small studio apartments in downtown locations to stunning Airbnb homes with gorgeous views. However, as Airbnb has grown from plucky innovator to its current massive status, the complaints have been piling up. From some guests being frustrated with hidden fees to others feeling like the prices have gotten too high to justify doing laundry for Hosts, one of the more controversial aspects has been the rise of indoor security cameras, something the company has historically allowed. 

Now, that's all changing. According to a March 11, 2024 press release, Airbnb is changing this policy, and Hosts will now be prohibited from using indoor security cameras, in all situations, no matter the location in the house or disclosure by the host. Outdoor cameras, doorbell cameras, and noise decibel monitors are still permitted, but these devices will need to be clearly disclosed on the booking page. The policy will take effect on April 30.

In the past, even though Hosts were required to be transparent about including indoor cameras in their listings, some would bury them deep in the descriptions, which many guests overlooked before they booked: many users have told stories about discovering these cameras in the living room, hallway, and kitchen, only to later find out that the note about the camera was hidden on the page, creating a level of discomfort that would never occur in a hotel. 

Airbnb's unexpected home security ban sets a new standard for rental property owners

Even though Hosts had permission to install indoor cameras in common areas, many Airbnb guests were perturbed by the perceived invasion of privacy — such as one female guest, traveling by herself, who stayed at an Airbnb and found a camera in the bedroom which she claimed wasn't listed on the Airbnb listing page. Reports such as this likely influenced the company's decision to ban indoor cameras after April 30. Following that deadline, if guests report finding cameras in their homes, Airbnb will investigate, assess, and remove listings if needed. Outdoor cameras, while still allowed, will also have new limitations, being restricted from more personal areas such as saunas.

Airbnb's Head of Community Policy and Partnerships, Juniper Downs, states, "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. Our goal was to create new, clear rules that provide our community with greater clarity about what to expect on Airbnb." 

So, as Airbnb makes this change, Hosts will need to take heed. And if you're one of many homeowners thinking of turning your home into an Airbnb for a cool side gig, it's crucial to keep up with the changing guidelines to ensure everything runs smoothly.