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BBT March/April 2019 cover
March/April 2019

Airbnb in legal dispute with New York state

Airbnb, the website that allows homeowners to rent out properties to travellers, is embroiled in a legal spat with the New York state in a dispute over housing and hotel laws.

The website, which featured in BBT’s Hot List 2014 as a potential ‘industry disruptor, ’has been asked by the New York attorney general to disclose information about its users, which it claims are illegally renting out their properties on the site.

New York laws prohibits renters from subletting entire apartments for less than 30 days to prevent the operating of illegal hotels.

According to the New York Post, court documents filed by the attorney general claim more than 60 per cent of Airbnb listings break that law.

In a statement posted on the company’s website, its head of global public policy, David Hantman, said: “The attorney general has made it clear he remains determined to comb through the personal information of thousands of regular New Yorkers just trying to make ends meet,”

“We were proud to stand up for our hosts who share their homes and against this over-broad, government sponsored fishing expedition. 

“Cities like Paris, Amsterdam and Hamburg are embracing the sharing economy and New York shouldn’t be stuck playing catch-up.”

In October last year the company rejected a request from the state to hand over data on 15,000 New York residents who have used the site for short-term lettings.

The company is in court this week challenging the request with a decision expected next week.

Airbnb's website explains that it is the responsibility of the homeowner to ensure they are not breaking any local laws or regulations.


My name is Sandra Pineda and I am reading your article regarding the Airbnb Company and how this company is abusing the guests. I made a reservation at Manhattan, New York with Airbnb for four days and pay with my credit card prior to my arrival. When I arrived to the place it was a total disaster. I couldn’t believe that this apartment was the same as it was displays in the pictures of the Airbnb website. This apartment was filthy, clutter, messy and on top of this the host did not have a permission to re-rent this premises since the host lie to the person in the lobby stated that I was a family member. I did not stay in this apartment for all of the issues mentioned and after that I spoke to the host and Airbnb about the condition of this premises I have to paid and I did not get my money back since Airbnb stated that I need to cancel prior of four days. My answer to this is how I am going to cancel before I found the condition of this apartment. My credit card tried to get my money back but Airbnb refused to do the refund since they express that the policies of the money back is within the time frame prior to the arrival. This issue happen on July of 2016 my first time using the service of Airbnb and I think I will never going to get my money back of $554 dollars. If you would like more details my email I have pictures and videos of this premises.


Sandra Pineda

SANDRA PINEDA (not verified)

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