Airbnb is renowned as the company which has disrupted the short-term rentals market. But, not everyone is happy about the way the homestay network operates.
After New York Governor Andrew M.Cuomo signed a bill to introduce new legislation which will mean big fines for Airbnb hosts who break local housing regulations, Airbnb launched legal action, saying the law will cause it “irreparable harm”.
It comes after the firm launched similar lawsuits against the authorities in San Francisco and Santa Monica, California, which are both looking to fine Airbnb for illegal listings.
Airbnb is also facing problems internationally from countries including Amsterdam and Barcelona which believe that Airbnb has led to illegal rentals. Officials in Berlin are also unhappy with having Airbnb hosts in the city, as it has banned most short-term rentals.
The latest law in New York means officials can fine Airbnb hosts up to $7,500 if they are found to have listed a property on the rental network.
New York Assemblywomen Linda B.Rosenthal is a Manhattan Democrat who sponsored the bill. She said: “New York is taking a bold step that will hopefully set a standard for the rest of the country and other countries in the world that are struggling with the impact of Airbnb on affordable housing.”
Airbnb is railing against any new rules which will have a detrimental impact on the number of hosts on its platform. The firm needs increasing numbers of people on the site as hosts in order to fulfill further expansion plans.
The New York market is particularly important for Airbnb as the city has the most number of hosts anywhere in the US.
Airbnb says the new New York legislation violates its constitutional rights to free speech and due process, as well as the protection it is afforded under the Communications Decency Act, which says websites cannot be held accountable for content published by their users.
Founded in 2008, San Francisco-headquartered Airbnb is a peer-to-peer network which was set up to allow people to act as hosts and advertise short-term lodging in their properties, or to search listings and choose somewhere to stay.
The firm makes its money by taking a percentage from both its guests and its hosts for every booking. With more than two million listings at any one time across 191 countries, it is rapidly expanding and has launched legal action so it can continue to do so.