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Can Airbnb Be Held Liable for Assaults at a Rented House?

Who can be held liable for an assault that occurs at a rented Airbnb property? Does inadequate security at an Airbnb lend itself to a premises liability claim? Both questions and more are being asked and challenged in a recent lawsuit filed against Airbnb following a deadly gang-related shooting at an Orinda, California home rented through Airbnb last Halloween.

Details of the Fatal Airbnb Shooting

A home in Orinda, California, near Oakland, was rented on October 31st, 2019 for a large party with at least 100 attendees. At some point during the night, a conflict arose among suspected rival gang members, ending in the death of five and the injuries of several others.

In March, the family members of one of the slain partygoers filed a lawsuit against Airbnb and the homeowners of the rented location. The lawsuit states that Airbnb did not take reasonable measures to prevent the raucous party.

The homeowners had allegedly rented the property several times before to people who used it to host large crowds. Local laws make it illegal to allow so many people inside a short-term rental such as an Airbnb home. There were also numerous calls to the authorities regarding underage drinking and other illegal activities in the home, dating back as early as February 2019. The lawsuit argues that Airbnb should have known that the rental application on Halloween would be used for another large party that could turn rowdy.

Airbnb promised to ban party rentals on its platform and create hotlines for neighbors and law enforcement to use if concerns of illegal activities arose. The measures were made in direct response to the fatal Orinda shooting but not as any admission of liability. The company and the defendants are expected to challenge the lawsuit further.

You can learn more about this ongoing story by clicking here and reading a full article from Courthouse News Service. For more information about Airbnb premises liability claims or how to file one in Atlanta, you can call (404) 998-5258 and connect with Pratt Clay, LLC.