If you're making plans for a Northern Minnesota lake getaway or a Twin Cities trip for a Twins game or a concert and you're booking an Airbnb for your lodging during your adventure, a big new policy change is coming for Airbnbs.

The vacation rental company announced on Monday they are making a sweeping change to a policy that will ease the minds of guests who have expressed concerns over a practice some hosts have implemented on their properties.

The policy change is designed to simplify and clarify the rules about the usage of security cameras installed by the host to monitor the property and guest activity during their stay.

What is Airbnb changing in its policy?

In a press release published on March 11, 2024, the company says they will be banning the use of indoor security cameras and other monitoring devices in all of their listings "to continue to prioritize the privacy of our community".

The use of indoor security cameras in common areas in Airbnb listings is currently allowed. The company uses examples of locations like hallways and living rooms in their definition of "public areas", noting that the cameras needed to be clearly visible and cameras could not be located in sleeping spaces and bathrooms.

MIX 108 logo
Get our free mobile app

Their current policy specifies that hosts would need to disclose in the property listing if indoor cameras are installed and note where they are located. Hosts would need to ensure guests were aware of the usage of cameras inside the property prior to booking.

Under the new policy, usage of indoor security cameras will be banned completely, noting that "security cameras are not allowed inside listings, regardless of their location, purpose or prior disclosure" under the new policy.

What about exterior security cameras?

Photo by Roberto Nickson on Unsplash
Photo by Roberto Nickson on Unsplash

Airbnb says they will continue to allow external cameras like doorbell cameras on their properties, saying these kinds of devices "can be an effective, privacy-protective way for Hosts to monitor security for their home and get ahead of issues like unauthorized parties".

Hosts are required to disclose the presence of exterior cameras and the "general location" of these cameras before guests book. These exterior cameras will not be allowed to be used to monitor the inside of a building from outside, and the company notes a "greater expectation of privacy" in enclosed outdoor areas like an outdoor shower or sauna.

What about "other devices" noted in the policy?

Airbnb's new policy highlights "other monitoring devices", specifically mentioning decibel monitors used to monitor noise levels at the property. Something I've seen on a lot of property listings from hosts are notes about loud parties or loud activities being prohibited. These devices speak directly to those concerns from hosts.

The company's new policy will allow hosts to use decibel monitors with the only purpose of "assessing decibel level and not to record or transmit sounds or conversations". These devices will only be allowed in common spaces like living rooms, and hosts must disclose the presence of these devices before guests book.

Why is Airbnb making this policy change?

Photo by Alan J. Hendry on Unsplash
Photo by Alan J. Hendry on Unsplash

In the company's press release, Airbnb's Head of Community Policy and Partnerships explained that they had a goal of creating "new, clear rules that provide our community with greater clarity about what to expect on Airbnb".

The company notes that these changes were made in consultation with guests as well as hosts and privacy experts.

Airbnb says the majority of their listings do not report having security cameras, noting "this update is expected to impact a smaller subset of listings on the platform".

While not all properties have implemented indoor security cameras, I know I've noticed a growing number of properties that have disclosed that they have cameras on-site in recent years. As the devices have gotten less expensive and easier to implement, it is understandable to see why.

When does the new policy go into effect?

Airbnb says they are giving hosts until the end of April to make the appropriate changes to be in compliance with the new policy. The new rules officially go into effect on April 30, 2024.

Once the new policy goes into effect, guest reports of violations of the new rules can be submitted, which will lead to an investigation and can lead to Airbnb taking action against the host, which can include removal of the property or host account from their service.

This Luxurious Minnesota Airbnb Places You On The Shore Of Lake Superior

People seem to be seeking out an Airbnb experience more and more when they travel as it's usually a great way to enjoy a hand-picked unique experience while often spending less than a traditional hotel stay.

Those looking for a northern Minnesota getaway near Lake Superior must check to see if Always Grace, hosted by Cascade Vacation Rentals, is available. You want amazing Lake Superior views? This luxurious Grand Marais Airbnb practically puts you IN Lake Superior with its location, plus you also do have beach access.

Not only do you get unsurpassed views, but you can enjoy plenty of space with 5 bedrooms, 7 beds and 3 baths. That means that up to 14 guests can enjoy Always Grace, perfect for a gathering of friends or family.

Take a look through what life is like on Lake Superior in Grand Marais, Minnesota.

More From MIX 108