21 July 2019

Airbnb Faces Off With New York Over Housing Rentals

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The housing-rental site faced off in court Tuesday with the New York attorney general's office, which is pressing Airbnb for the identities of users it believes may be violating state housing laws.

Airbnb offers an online platform for people to rent out their homes or apartments to travelers. The issue it's facing in New York is a law stating that residents can't rent out properties for fewer than 30 days when they aren't living there.

Airbnb has argued that the law is meant to crack down on landlords who buy residential buildings and run them as hotels, not on individual tenants. The company is fighting the attorney general's request that it give up data on its hosts, calling the subpoena a "vast data demand on regular New Yorkers."

The two sides are now awaiting a judge's decision on the subpoena.

 "Today, the Attorney General again made it clear that he remains determined to comb through the personal information of thousands of regular New Yorkers just trying to make ends meet," wrote David Hantman, Airbnb's head of global public policy, in a blog post following Tuesday's hearing.

But New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman says as many as two thirds of Airbnb rentals in New York City may be illegal.

"State law protects the quality of life of building residents and the safety of tourists," Schneiderman spokesman Matt Mittenthal said in an email. "We strongly support innovation, but being innovative is not a defense to breaking the law."

Click here for the full article from CNN Money.

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