Airbnb pursues legal action in deadly Sunnyvale house party booking

Bay Area

This illustration picture taken on November 22, 2019, shows the logo of the online lodging service Airbnb displayed on a smartphone in Paris. (Photo by Lionel BONAVENTURE / AFP) (Photo by LIONEL BONAVENTURE/AFP via Getty Images)

SUNNYVALE, Calif. (KRON) — Airbnb is pursing legal action against the person who booked a home in Sunnyvale for a deadly large house party.

An 18-year-old was shot and killed during what Airbnb said was an “unauthorized” party on August 7, with over 100 partiers at the house.

Airbnb alleges that the booking guest “booked the listing under false pretenses,” and violated the company’s Community Standards and Terms of Service.

Police had first responded to the home on the 1400 block of Navarro Drive for a noise complaint. As officers were gathering on the scene, they said shots rang out and at least two men were shot – one of them fatally.

18-year-old Elias Elhania died of his injuries at a San Jose hospital, according to police. A second adult male victim underwent surgery and is expected to survive. 

Police estimated there were between 150-200 people at the party, many of them around the ages of 16-19 years old.

Airbnb first announced a global ban on parties in August of 2020 and said it would remain in effect until further notice. Even so, the company has found many ‘party houses’ on its platforms, including at least 65 in the Bay Area.

The company has maintained that rule breakers could face suspension, a ban, and even legal action.

“The action against the Sunnyvale guest is similar to previous legal action taken against guests in Sacramento, Cincinnati, Glendora CA, Brookhaven NY and Dallas who threw unauthorized parties,” the company said in a press release on Tuesday.

The Navarro Drive listing has since been deactivated as officials investigate.

In efforts to curb party bookings, Airbnb has added certain restrictions around holiday weekends. The company just announced that it will prohibit one-night reservations for guests without a history of positive reviews and also apply certain restrictions on two-night reservations in entire home listings in the U.S. and Canada for Halloween weekend.

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