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.