Airbnb Under Pressure, Agrees To Hand Over Data To NY's Attorney General

from the makes-ny-less-interesting-to-visit dept

As we've discussed a few times, NY's Attorney General, Eric Schneiderman, has been trying to go on a fishing expedition through Airbnb's records, looking for what he calls "illegal hotels." Of course, he's more or less admitted that he's doing this to protect big NYC hotels from being disrupted. Last week, Airbnb actually won in court, quashing Schneiderman's subpoena, though Schniederman just turned around and issued a new subpoena to deal with the deficiencies of the first one.

Recognizing that it was going to run into issues eventually, Airbnb has worked out a "settlement" with Schneiderman, in which it will provide anonymous data, but if Schneiderman finds information that he thinks indicates an "illegal hotel" he can go back to the company to get identifying information. Airbnb says it hopes that Schneiderman is really just focused on true large-scale abusers, many of which it has already removed from the system itself:
The Attorney General's Office will have one year to review the anonymized data and receive information from us about individual hosts who may be subject to further investigation. We believe the Attorney General's Office is focused on large corporate property managers and hosts who take apartments off the market and disrupt communities. We have already removed more than 2,000 listings in New York and believe that many of the hosts the Attorney General is concerned about are no longer a part of Airbnb.
As I've mentioned in the past, I've used Airbnb to find places to stay in NYC a few times now, and it's been an absolutely wonderful experience, significantly better and more convenient than staying in Manhattan hotels. The accommodations, location and service were all significantly better. At least two of the hosts whose places I've stayed at own multiple apartments and rent them out via Airbnb, and it seems ridiculous that they might be shut down because of this. Yes, there are specific "hotel" regulations in NYC, but it seems silly to apply most of them to these kinds of small businesses, where the platform and competition do a great job of keeping them honest. The hosts always seemed to go out of their way to make sure that staying at their apartments was a great experience worth coming back again in the future. Yes, it's possible that some people are somehow abusing the system, but it seems likely that plenty of small time entrepreneurs are going to get swept up in this effort to protect big hotels from disruption.
Hide this

Thank you for reading this Techdirt post. With so many things competing for everyone’s attention these days, we really appreciate you giving us your time. We work hard every day to put quality content out there for our community.

Techdirt is one of the few remaining truly independent media outlets. We do not have a giant corporation behind us, and we rely heavily on our community to support us, in an age when advertisers are increasingly uninterested in sponsoring small, independent sites — especially a site like ours that is unwilling to pull punches in its reporting and analysis.

While other websites have resorted to paywalls, registration requirements, and increasingly annoying/intrusive advertising, we have always kept Techdirt open and available to anyone. But in order to continue doing so, we need your support. We offer a variety of ways for our readers to support us, from direct donations to special subscriptions and cool merchandise — and every little bit helps. Thank you.

–The Techdirt Team

Filed Under: anonymous data, apartment rentals, disruption, eric schneiderman, illegal hotels, ny, nyc
Companies: airbnb

Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread

  1. icon
    Groaker (profile), 22 May 2014 @ 4:34am

    Still strawman arguments.

    If someone thinks this is not safe, then they shouldn't rent one.

    I guess that the fire code has to be far safer for someone staying a night than it does for a family that lives there the rest of the year. Because clearly the life of the overnighter is far more important than that of the owner(s).

    I now live in a residential community that has contractual codes. I am not allowed to have more than two horses. If I had wanted three, I should not have bought the house I live in, not whined that the family next door owns three horses, but never has more than two on their property at any one time. They are rotating them out, and who knows what the horse coming back is going to do.

    If someone wants access to the Chelsea Square gardens, then you have to buy/lease in the location. If someone doesn't want to live in a building that allows subletting, then don't buy/lease in that building. Above all read the contract before signing for leases or purchases. If someone is subletting in violation of contract, they can go to the building manager, and court if need be. Otherwise it is no more than was signed on for.

    When residences are swapped, as opposed to being sublet, the argument becomes one of are guests allowed. Can they stay overnight? Does that mean I can't have a friend stay over a couple of nights whether I am home or not? Can one come over for coffee? There are residential associations that do not allow overnight guests, and limit the times when guests may be present. For all I know there are possibly some that don't allow guests at all. Contractual agreements.

    Some people think that contracts only have meaning when they are convenient for them, and are meaningless, or exist only to be "gotten around" when they are inconvenient to themselves, or they just like to harass others. The courts are often full of such people. One clod hit the news a couple of days ago. He was bitten on a bus by a dog. OK, that deserves a suit if the dog owner doesn't step up. But there was also a suit against a couple who took a picture of this. Public place, no expectation of privacy. Incidentally the suit was for some $2,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 plus punitive damages -- which is more money than there will ever be on the earth unless inflation gets really, really bad. Many other complaints and suits have the same validity.

Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter

Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Follow Techdirt
Insider Shop - Show Your Support!

Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Recent Stories
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads

This site, like most other sites on the web, uses cookies. For more information, see our privacy policy. Got it

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.