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'You can't really get away with this:' Noise sensors try to prevent Airbnb parties

Aribnb enlists help of noise sensors to deter partiers
Posted at 1:37 PM, Nov 01, 2022
and last updated 2022-11-01 15:37:32-04

Barbara Culligan rents out her home on the weekends.

"The first line of my house rules are: If you think this is a house where you can play beer-pong on the dining room table, respectfully don't rent."

She's proud to say most of her guests play by the rules at her Nashville, Tennessee home, but there are rare exceptions.

That's why Culligan is excited to use a new noise sensor in her home. It's part of a partnership between Airbnb and tech company Minut. Hosts across the company's platform will receive the sensor for free along with three months of subscription to the monitoring service.

"It's the next step in preventing and detecting parties," said Culligan.

The device notifies hosts if the noise in the home has exceeded a certain decibel level for more than ten minutes.

"They are privacy safe," said Ben Breit, director of Trust and Safety Communications at Airbnb. "They do not record sound. They do not transmit audio or anything like that, but what they do is provide decibel level" information, they said.

It's all part of Airbnb's party ban policy. Since 2020, the company has seen a 68% decrease in reports of parties at Tennessee Airbnbs.

"We want everyone to have a safe, fun, responsible time," said Breit. "None of that includes throwing an unauthorized party."

Hosts must disclose the presence of these devices in their homes, and they cannot be used in private spaces like bedrooms or bathrooms.

Airbnb says the sensors "do not record or transmit sounds and conversations."

"It's another tool just like a camera is, an outside camera, that says to the guest you can't really get away with this," Culligan said.

This story was originally published by WTVF in Nashville, Tennessee.