Traveling to new places has become a more affordable venture in recent years. Airfare has become cheaper and there are many options when it comes to accommodation.
One of the most popular trends has to be Airbnb. This platform connects travelers with locals that can offer them short-term rentals. It could be just a room or even an entire mansion.
Whatever the choice made, it is often a great immersive experience. For felons looking to flex their traveling muscle, a question does arise. Does Airbnb run background checks?
To book accommodation, or offer your place up, you need to sign up as a member. Here we will focus on members that sign-up to be guests.
This is for those that have a felony or misdemeanor on their record. You will want to know if it affects your ability to enjoy Airbnb.
With the many benefits Airbnb offers to travelers, it can feel unfair to be excluded. More so when it comes to an activity you may be trying to enjoy with family or as a way to recharge your batteries.
Before we consider why this matters, let’s look at how Airbnb works.
What is Airbnb?
Airbnb is an online platform that helps travelers connect with locals in various destinations across the world. Here the locals can list their properties as short-term rentals. It is a great alternative to the standard hotel and hostel options.
Both guests and hosts must register accounts on the site. Hosts will upload information on their listings. Guests can then peruse the options open and book the accommodation.
Identities are verified through such avenues as social media. Photo ID scanning is only mandatory for last-minute bookings.
Airbnb makes money by taking a commission off both the guest and host when a booking is done.
It is a fun way to explore new places, sometimes while being hosted within the homes of locals. Many also appreciate locations that put them in close proximity to markets. This way they can more easily cater to themselves.
However, even with smaller arrangements, the price comparison for a similar level of comfort can be surprising.
Another lure is the affordability. Many people find that this option is cheaper than a hotel. Especially when you can get an entire house or apartment.
Some of the locations are also quite prime. Sometimes with no better alternative accommodation in the area at that price point.
For hosts, this business is a great way to make extra income. They get to set their own prices, and listing a property is free.
On any given night, there can be up to 2 million guests across 81,000 cities worldwide. It has proven a highly successful model with many people willing to partake.
After reservations, hosts and guests can leave reviews on each other. This peer review system helps other users make accommodation decisions.
So given all these benefits, why would Airbnb need to run background checks?
Why Criminal History Matters?
One of the biggest risks to inviting a stranger into your home is the potential for damage. These are furnished accommodations. There are often feature expensive furniture and electronics.
Especially where the entire property is left to the guest, there is reason for concern. They can easily depart from the property after having caused damage. With many guests being from overseas, it can mean having little recourse for compensation.
There have been many stories of guests hosting destructive parties that have left properties trashed. Stolen property is another risk. Besides the furnishings and electronics, the personal property of hosts has been known to disappear.
These are all criminal activities of theft and vandalism. Felony and misdemeanor offenders already have a history of criminal activity.
This often puts them at the top of the list of suspects to commit such crimes. More so when the particular crimes they were convicted of are of a similar nature.
Just as with employers, Airbnb considers the risks associated with permitting criminals into their system. It may place innocent hosts and their families at risk. Especially with felons convicted of violent offenses.
The potential for property damage is also factored in.
So, does Airbnb carry out background checks on its guests?
Does Airbnb Conduct Background Checks?
According to the site, they do make use of approved background check providers. if they have enough information, they do perform checks on guests and hosts who live in the U.S. This is largely dependent on them providing correct first and last names, and dates of birth.
Amongst the details they check include:
- Public county and state criminal databases
- County, state, and federal sex offender registries
- OFAC listings for terrorists and narcotics traffickers
These checks do not seem to be all that strict. If accounts are registered with inaccurate details, then Airbnb does not seem to be all that concerned. They do seem to acknowledge that some information given may not even belong to the users.
They also admit that they do not check every state and county courthouse for criminal records. Variations in state laws on reporting this information can also affect their ability to verify certain information. Delays in updating court records can also affect accuracy.
Another problem is that Airbnb does not repeatedly carry out these checks. A guest or host may register then later commit a crime. Thus Airbnb may not be aware as to their new status.
So while Airbnb does conduct background checks on U.S. members, some do slip through the cracks. And this may not affect their ability to run their accounts as guests or hosts.
In cases where Airbnb has managed to run a criminal background check, certain crimes can lead to removal. These include:
- Sexual violence
- Human trafficking
- Hate crimes
Crimes that involve theft and property damage can also lead to removal from the system. This can last 14 years from the date of conviction. Lesser offenses like drug possession and disorderly conduct do not lead to removal.
Travel is a great way to shed off the stresses of having been imprisoned. It gives a greater sense of freedom. It is also a wonderful opportunity to meet new people and make better memories.
Thanks to the power of the American passport, there are many places that even felons can travel worldwide. So whether it is for business, pleasure, education, or relocation, the world can be your oyster.
Airbnb can be a great way to find affordable accommodation. The value for money is often better than what you would get with typical hotels. The variety of housing options and the opportunity to immerse yourself in local lifestyles is exciting.
But a bad background check report could prove a stumbling block. There is plenty of evidence suggesting Airbnb is not that strict son these checks. However, if they have accurate name and date of birth details, all will be revealed.
To avoid complications, it is best to be honest when setting up your account. And when answering questions concerning crime.
While it may lead to rejection, there may be remedies available. There is an appeals process in place. You can make the case of having been rehabilitated and be reconsidered.