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Does Airbnb Background Check?

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When traveling, a felon will be looking for lodging.

Perhaps in the past, a felon might have stayed at an Airbnb location.

With all of the scrutiny that a felon receives, a background check has become the norm.

This blog post will address the question of whether Airbnb runs a background check.

  • About Airbnb
  • Airbnb Background Check?
  • Results of an Airbnb Background Check
  • Can You Run a Background Check on Yourself?
  • Recommended Action


About Airbnb

Airbnb is an online network of lodging options for persons wanting a short-term rental.

The rental choices are owned and maintained by individual owners rather than by Airbnb itself.

Airbnb connects hosts with guests seeking short-term lodging.

The company’s name comes from air mattress B&B.

The company started in 2008 and currently has rentals in 34,000 cities and 190 countries.  

Airbnb hosts list different kinds of properties, including:

  • Single rooms 
  • Suite of rooms
  • Apartments
  • Houses

Hosts do not have to pay to list their property.

A listing can include a written description with photos and a user profile for each guest to complete.

A host will have to register a listing on the Airbnb website by creating a profile, adding a profile picture, and completing a series of verification and scanning processes. 

Guests will have to create a profile on Airbnb and provide personal information and identity verification.  

A potential guest will have to go on the Airbnb website and search through areas, spaces, and number of guests by using various filters.

Potential guests can search the Airbnb database by date, location, price, amenities, and language of the host.  

Airbnb Background Check?

Airbnb policy states that it does not routinely conduct a background check on potential users, but they have the right to do so.

Airbnb does run a background check.

Airbnb typically recommends that a host screen individuals who rent from them. 

Generally, a short-term rental company verifies the user is a real person with a valid address.

Many rental hosting companies do not do a background check, including a credit check. 

Risks for Airbnb hosts include:

  • Loss or theft of items
  • Property damage
  • The guest overstating
  • Personal safety
  • Liability in case of an accident

Airbnb typically conducts background checks on members.

This includes certain information from public state and county databases and criminal records in addition to state and national sex offender registries.  

Airbnb requires all guests and hosts to submit to an ID verification, including:

  • Submitting a recent photo
  • Submitting a valid government ID

The screening process for a potential tenant often begins through phone contact.

The following information is usually requested:

  • Name
  • Purpose of the trip
  • Whether the potential guest has state in the short term rental previously
  • How many adults and how many children there are
  • Whether they smoke
  • Whether they have pets

The Federal Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination on the base basis of race, religion, national origin, gender, and familial status.

A guest cannot be asked if he or she has been arrested, though a question may be included regarding the conviction of a crime.

Airbnb will often conduct a background check of databases from public state and county criminal records in addition to state and national sex offender registry.  

Airbnb can only run a check on U.S. based guests with the user’s name and birth date.

A background check typically contains such information as:

  • Credit history
  • Personal information
  • Criminal records 
  • Driving records
  • Employment history 

Results of an Airbnb Background Check

Users with serious criminal histories may be removed following a background investigation.

Less serious offenses will usually not result in removal.

Some crimes may result in removal from the Airbnb database for 14 years.

These include crimes such as felony burglary or felony larceny.

Recommended Action

When preparing to rent through Airbnb, it is important for a felon to be open and honest regarding anything concerning a conviction.

Lying about it will only jeopardize a felon’s chances of renting through Airbnb. 

It is important to remember not just the mistakes we make but how we recover from them for the future.

Establishing an honest life is not easy to do but is certainly important in recovering and moving forward.  

Not being truthful on an Airbnb application could result in not being considered for rental approval if the Airbnb host finds out about it.

Doing his or her own background check allows a felon to know what an Airbnb host will see on his or her record.

So what do you think about this blog post about whether Airbnb runs background checks?

Have you or someone you know had Airbnb run a background check?

What was that like and was he or she successful in renting a unit?

Please tell us in the comments below.

2 thoughts on “Does Airbnb Background Check?”

  1. I have a non-violent drug charge from 2000 for which I served a 35 month sentence in NC. I started using Airbnb around 2011 and honestly don’t recall being asked about my criminal record. If I had, I wouldn’t have knowingly lied about it simply because I never have and have never had a problem with discussing it for any reason. In all honesty, I’ve probably always been more forthcoming about it than I’ve needed to be.
    I started hosting on Airbnb around 2013 and because a “super host” until around 2016 when I just got too busy to host anymore.
    In late 2017, I reserved an Airbnb in Port Townsend, WA which was unexpectedly cancelled just days before my trip with no explanation provided in the cancellation notice. I just assumed the host had to cancel for some reason. No biggie. However, when I logged in to search for another rental in Port Townsend, I received a notice that my account had been disable due to my felony from 2000. I reached out to Airbnb with zero success. I moved on quickly. It got me thinking about all of the good people that have a criminal history, many of whom are minorities (I’m not), that are effectively banned from Airbnb by default. As a former “superhost”, I was particularly irritated because as a host, I was never even given the option to allow renters with a criminal record (which I would have done).
    I moved on quickly. Eff Airbnb, ya know?
    I saw this commercial for Airbnb this morning. Something about “strangers aren’t so strange”. It got me thinking again. Strangers aren’t so strange… unless they have a criminal record, right?
    At one point I’d considered reaching out to some progressive journalists I’ve met over the years, but you know what? Eff Airbnb.


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