Airbnb host cancels vacation rental after guest asks about camera surveillance – NBC Boston

What are your expectations for privacy when staying in a vacation rental?

Renee Bushey from Boston’s Charlestown neighborhood planned a New Hampshire Memorial Day weekend biking and walking trip with her family and found accommodation on Airbnb.

“I found an old, kind of old farmhouse. It looked like there was a lot of space,” Bushey said. “We were delighted to be out of town for a while. “

The house listing included security cameras on the property. Bushey says she assumed they were outside, but learned more after messaging the host.

“She said every area except the bedroom and bathroom had cameras. I never got a response if that included audio and what were they doing with those recordings,” Bushey said.

She says the host canceled her reservation at the last minute after asking if they could leave a security deposit instead of being watched by video.

“It’s really disturbing,” Bushey said. “It sounded scary to us. I didn’t want my family checked in for a weekend, but I didn’t want my reservation canceled just because I had asked about it.”

Airbnb allows cameras and noise monitoring devices inside your rental, as long as they are clearly marked in the listing. They are only allowed in public and common areas, not in bathrooms or bedrooms.

Concealed devices are prohibited and hosts are required to disclose how guests will be monitored and whether active recording is taking place.

“We are so sorry to hear about Renee’s experience and happy that our team was able to help her receive a full refund,” Airbnb said in a statement to NBC10 Boston. “Host cancellations are rare, but when they do occur our support team is ready to help you with a full refund or assistance with a new reservation. After learning of this incident, our team followed up with this host to accurately represent their announcement. “

The host has since removed their ad from the site.

Michael Coyne, a Boston NBC10 legal analyst, who is dean of the Massachusetts School of Law, says consumers should ask questions up front and also realize that they can waive certain privacy rights when they agree to the terms of use for a vacation rental app.

“Carefully review the user agreement, ask questions about it, and then be vigilant about protecting that confidentiality,” Coyne said, “because the confidentiality of most of these user agreements is unfortunately considerably limited.” .

Bushey says she will think twice before booking with Airbnb again.

“I understand that people want to protect their homes, but I think it goes too far,” she said.

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