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Airbnb is blocking temporary rentals over Halloween weekend

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Airbnb will prohibit one-night rentals over Halloween weekend as part of its ongoing effort to crack down on party houses.

The action, announced Friday, comes nearly a year after a deadly shooting at an Airbnb rental in northern California. Five people were killed in the shooting, which happened during an unauthorized Halloween party.

San Francisco-based Airbnb said it will ban one-night rentals of homes in the U.S. and Canada on October 30 and October 31. Previously booked one-night rentals will be canceled and the company will offer refunds.

Airbnb said it will also look more closely at two- and three-night reservations during Halloween. A guest may be denied, for example, if they try to book a home close to their own house during that period and they don't have a history of positive reviews on Airbnb.

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"The great majority of guests are respectful of our hosts' homes and neighbors, and we understand that this initiative will disrupt many one-night reservations that might not have led to parties," Airbnb said in a statement, adding that "this action is designed to help protect our hosts and the communities they live in." 

As of August, Airbnb had more than 7 million listings and hundreds of homes for temporary lodging. There are at least 53 in London, 277 in Beijing, 170 in New York and 116 in Los Angeles, according to the company's website.

Airbnb has taken steps to crack down on parties since last year's shooting. Last November, it started manually reviewing U.S. and Canadian reservations to weed out suspicious rentals.

The company's efforts have intensified as it prepares for an initial public stock offering, which could come later this year. Twelve-year-old Airbnb has been trying to shed its couch-surfing image and appeal to more types of travelers.

In July, the company banned U.S. and Canadian guests under age 25 with fewer than three positive reviews from booking entire homes close to where they live. That policy was later expanded to the United Kingdom, Spain and France. In August, Airbnb banned parties worldwide and limited occupancy at its rentals to 16 people.

Airbnb has also warned guests and hosts that it could take legal action against violators. In August, for the first time, it started legal proceedings against a guest who held an unauthorized house party in Sacramento, California.

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