Airbnb drops lawsuit against NY
New York City – 6 December 2016
Airbnb has agreed to drop a lawsuit against New York City challenging a law imposing penalties on people who post short-term apartment rentals in the company’s biggest US market.
In exchange, regulators won’t seek to punish the company itself, said Linda Rosenthal, a state assembly member from Manhattan who has led the effort against Airbnb. Officials have said that the law was never intended to go after Airbnb directly anyway, Bloomberg reported.
Rosenthal described the settlement as a full capitulation by the company. “This is an astounding about-face on the part of Airbnb, which clearly recognised that this was a foolhardy and frivolous lawsuit,” she said.
Peter Schottenfels, a spokesman for Airbnb, said the settlement will mark the first time the company would be working together with New York City to cut down on illegal activity. “We look forward to using this as a basis to finding an approach that protects responsible New Yorkers while cracking down on illegal hotels that remove permanent housing off the market or create unsafe spaces,” he said.
In October, just after the bill was passed by New York lawmakers, Airbnb proposed a new policy there called “one host, one home.” It promised to help go after people who rent multiple apartments.
The state legislation punishes people advertising rentals of less than 30 days with fines of as much as US$7,500. Airbnb sued to block the law just hours after it was signed on October 21, claiming the restrictions were unconstitutional.
A month later, Airbnb settled with New York state, with both sides agreeing that enforcement was up to the city.
Airbnb faces pressure from governments around the world, which say home rentals contribute to housing shortages and drive up prices for residents.