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Airbnb Terms of Service Updated to Include Mandatory Arbitration

Monday, June, 6, 2016

Airbnb, the popular travel accommodations app that allows private homeowners to rent their homes to travelers, has updated its terms of service to require those involved in disputes to use arbitration to settle issues. The new terms of service also requires property owners to acknowledge that Airbnb is not an insurer, despite the company’s Host Protection Insurance program.


The terms of service is in stark contrast to the sales and marketing materials that claim the Host Protection Insurance program now provides primary coverage for renters in more than 15 countries. It also claims to provide primary liability coverage for up to a million dollars per occurrence if there are third party claims of injury or property damage.


The updated terms of service requires renters agree to binding arbitration, which takes away their right to file a lawsuit against Airbnb for negligence, broken promises, or misdeeds. The arbitration clause also bans class action lawsuits. The terms of service does note that Airbnb still has the option to sue renters for trademark or copyright infringement.


Many believe this updated terms of service, in addition to being an insult to property owners, makes the process of using the app far less attractive. Homeowners are losing out on the use of their largest asset because of a company forcing them to give up legal rights, according to those in opposition to the terms of service updates. Essentially, Airbnb has reduced itself to just a payment collection agent, though other argue the app serves to provide a connection between renter and homeowner.