Airbnb settles suit against the state, but will continue to fight the city

Posted On Wed, November 23, 2016 By

Posted On Wed, November 23, 2016 By In Policy

When the state passed a bill in October that would impose fines of up to $7,500 on those who list illegal short-term rentals on Airbnb, the company fired back, filing a federal lawsuit on the grounds that the new law “would impose significant immediate burdens and irreparable harm on Airbnb.” They’ve since withdrawn the suit against the state, reports the Journal, instead focusing their efforts on New York City, as they feel it’s the city’s jurisdiction under which these regulations fall and that they’re violating Airbnb’s First Amendment rights.

As 6sqft previously explained, “The new regulation piggybacks on what’s been the state law since 2010–that apartments can’t be rented out for less than 30 days if the lease holder isn’t present.” In fact, a recent report estimates that roughly 56 percent of Airbnb’s 2015 listings were illegal. Earlier this month, the $30 billion San Francisco-based startup began talks with the city and Attorney General Eric Schneiderman to settle the suit, but they’re still pushing forward as they feel the law was enacted due to pressure from hotel lobbyists and that its wording doesn’t specify whether the fines will be imposed on Airbnb itself or the specific homeowners. The latter point, they contend, is in violation of the Communications Decency Act, a federal law that protects websites from being held accountable for content published by their users.

Of the suit, an Airbnb spokesman said, “We have long sought to work with leaders in New York on clear, fair rules for home sharing, and we’re continuing to do all we can to protect the thousands of middle class families who depend on home sharing to earn a little extra money.” City officials will hold a hearing on the Airbnb regulations on December 17th.

[Via WSJ]

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