The government has rolled out new Airbnb regulations aimed at addressing and mitigating the recently reported cases of murder that have been recorded in the short stay accommodation units.
In a January 31, 2024, statement, the Ministry of Interior and National Administration noted that it shall be conducting a crackdown through inspections of all registered properties.
“Starting from 5 February 2024, National Government Administrative Officers (NGAOs), in collaboration with the TRA, will commence stringent inspections of all registered properties.
“We will subsequently coordinate with booking platforms to restrict unregistered rentals and further institute severe penalties, including fines and revocation in cases of non- compliance,” read part of the statement.
The Ministry noted that prioritizing and enforcing existing regulations is a critical step in addressing and mitigating these concerning occurrences.
Airbnb new regulations
These new regulations will see all operators of short-term accommodation rentals, including Airbnbs, required to register with the Tourism Regulatory Authority (TRA).
“This registration process is designed to ensure that all accommodations meet the highest standards of safety and security for quests,” the statement noted.
Also, the Ministry further listed the new measures and stringent safety protocols implemented by the Private Security Regulatory Authority, aimed at enhancing security and accountability within these premises.
“Security guards are now legally mandated to record the identification details of all individuals entering these premises, documenting their time of entry and exit; and temporarily retain all visitors’ identification documents,” the statement added.
Additionally, as part of enhancing security, these measures have also mandated the installation of CCTV surveillance systems.
This will ensure that the recording of footage remains consistently up to date.
On the other hand, resident associations have been encouraged to work closely with law enforcement agencies for effective enforcement.
This includes sharing information, joint inspections, and coordinated responses to any safety standard violations.
The measures taken by the government comes following public outcry over mysterious murders that were reported to have occurred in short term accommodation facilities in Nairobi.
In the first incident, a socialite, Starlet Wahu, was found dead in an apartment located in the South B area.
Barely a week later, another middled-aged woman was found dead in the Kasarani area, with some body parts chopped off and stuffed in a polyethene bag.
However, the American-based online platform Airbnb came out to deny links to the tragic murders involving the two women in two different short term accommodation units.
In a statement, the company expressed shock over the gruesome murders but said that two apartments where the two women were murdered were not booked with them.
“We are saddened and shocked to learn of these events. We can confirm that neither of these events were connected to stays on Airbnb,” read part of the statement.
Additionally, the short-term housing platform noted that it has since shared the same to the authorities, maintaining it was ready to support local law enforcement with any ongoing investigations.