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


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  1. icon
    Groaker (profile), 22 May 2014 @ 2:45pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Why?

    Housing laws in NYC are more than archaic, and complex enough to keep a battalion of attorneys busy 24 hours a day. Sublet legality may at this point in time and space be legal under certain conditions. But landlords and residents committees are generally not fond of them.

    As far as making NYC less safe, that is tripe. This business has been going on for decades. It is just that the average NYC resident was not aware of the practice until recently.

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