by Loren G. Edelstein | November 03, 2016

Airbnb this week enacted a stricter anti-discrimination policy for users, which took effect Nov. 1. Hosts must sign a "Community Commitment," which they received via email, promising to treat all users with respect and without judgment or bias. The move follows allegations that pre-existing policy allowed potential renters to decline would-be guests based on their profile pictures, names or other discriminatory factors. 

The following is excerpted from the new policy: 

We want to promote a culture within the Airbnb community -- hosts, guests and people just considering whether to use our platform -- that goes above and beyond mere compliance. To that end, all of us, Airbnb employees, hosts and guests alike, agree to read and act in accordance with the following policy to strengthen our community and realize our mission of ensuring that everyone can belong, and feels welcome, anywhere.

  • Inclusion: We welcome guests of all backgrounds with authentic hospitality and open minds. Joining Airbnb, as a host or guest, means becoming part of a community of inclusion. Bias, prejudice, racism and hatred have no place on our platform or in our community. While hosts are required to follow all applicable laws that prohibit discrimination based on such factors as race, religion, national origin and others listed below, we commit to do more than comply with the minimum requirements established by law.
  • Respect:We are respectful of each other in our interactions and encounters. Airbnb appreciates that local laws and cultural norms vary around the world and expects hosts and guests to abide by local laws, and to engage with each other respectfully, even when views may not reflect their beliefs or upbringings. Airbnb's members bring to our community an incredible diversity of background experiences, beliefs and customs. By connecting people from different backgrounds, Airbnb fosters greater understanding and appreciation for the common characteristics shared by all human beings and undermines prejudice rooted in misconception, misinformation or misunderstanding.

Specific Guidance for Hosts in the United States

As a general matter, we will familiarize ourselves with all applicable federal, state and local laws that apply to housing and places of public accommodation. Hosts should contact Airbnb customer service if they have any questions about their obligations to comply with this Airbnb Nondiscrimination Policy. Airbnb will release further discrimination policy guidance for jurisdictions outside the United States in the near future. Guided by these principles, our U.S. host community will follow these rules when considering potential guests and hosting guests:

Race, Color, Ethnicity, National Origin, Religion, Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity, or Marital Status

  • Airbnb hostsmay not
  • Decline a guest based on race, color, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, gender identit, or marital status;
  • Impose any different terms or conditions based on race, color, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity or marital status;
  • Post any listing or make any statement that discourages or indicates a preference for or against any guest on account of race, color, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity or marital status.

Gender

  • Airbnb hostsmay not
  • Decline to rent to a guest based on gender unless the host shares living spaces (for example, bathroom, kitchen or common areas) with the guest;
  • Impose any different terms or conditions based on gender unless the host shares living spaces with the guest;
  • Post any listing or make any statement that discourages or indicates a preference for or against any guest on account of gender, unless the host shares living spaces with the guest.

The complete policy can be found here.