Balancing Security and Privacy – Airbnb’s Policies on Security Devices

UPDATE: We have updated our policy on security cameras and other devices. You can find the latest information on this policy here.

Every night, more than 2 million Airbnb guests stay in a home on our platform around the globe.  Airbnb’s community has been built on a strong foundation of trust and we are committed to developing policies designed to help promote the trust and safety of hosts and guests.

We first introduced our policies for security cameras with an objective of balancing the security of hosts and the privacy of guests. Our policies for security cameras and other recording devices have evolved over time as camera and voice-activation technology has become more common, but that core objective remains true today.

Here are our policies:

  • Security devices that are meant to be “hidden” are always prohibited — even if they’re disclosed in advance.
  • Additionally, security cameras and other recording devices are never allowed in any bedrooms or bathrooms. Hosts found to have violated this policy are subject to removal from our platform, and Airbnb stands ready to support law enforcement agencies investigating potential criminal activity.  
  • Security cameras and other recording devices located in or around listings, even if not turned on or hooked up, must be disclosed in the listing’s House Rules. Those House Rules show up on the public listing page and again on a separate confirmation page before the listing is booked. Airbnb also has implemented a product tool that allows hosts to disclose the presence of such devices with the click of a button.  If you’re a host, you can update your listing by clicking here.  
  • If a host discloses the device after booking is made, Airbnb will support the guest in canceling the reservation and receiving a full refund.

There are many legitimate reasons hosts utilize security devices. Some employ video doorbells to help guests enter the listing, for example, while others install security cameras to protect their homes when they aren’t at home. And while negative guest incidents are very rare, other hosts utilize disclosed cameras in living rooms or other common spaces with the goal of protecting their personal property.  

We want hosts to provide guests with the information they need to set guest expectations about the physical space and privacy.  By requiring hosts to disclose cameras in advance, guests have the ability to decide whether or not they are comfortable selecting the listing or prefer to choose a different listing.   

Building trust is at the core of Airbnb and we are always striving to improve.  While incidents involving security cameras are rare, we are committed to strengthening in-product communication so that expectations for both hosts and guests are aligned. We are working on ways to help make this information about cameras at accommodations even more conspicuous to guests, and we look forward to communicating those improvements soon to our host and guest community.

If you have any questions or want to learn more about our policies, we recommend checking out these additional resources: