Streams

New Tech City marquee (New Tech City)

Airbnb Appeals Judgment Against NYC Host

Wednesday, June 05, 2013 - 05:33 PM

For the first time, room-sharing service Airbnb will represent a user in court.

The company took the step after an administrative law judge fined Nigel Warren $2,400 for hosting a traveler from Russia for three nights. Warren, a Manhattan software designer, has become a poster-child for the dangers of person-to-person room rental sites in New York City.

Airbnb acknowledges there are risks to engaging city lawyers in the courts.

“We know that by stepping up and fighting for Nigel and our community, we have made ourselves a target and will now face attacks in the press and from people who do not understand who our community really is,” wrote David Hantman, the company’s head of global public policy, in a blog post. “But the amazing activity that is happening in New York and other cities around the world is worth fighting for.”

The firm representing Airbnb, Gibson Dunn & Crutcher, is litigating one other notable case involving “collaborative consumption,” but on the other side of the issue. The firm represents the livery car industry in its bid to block the taxi-hail app Uber.

Tags:

More in:

Comments [5]

apartment renter from NYC

People have been doing this for 50+ years. These fines/violations are pure evidence of how this country is falling apart, purely based on greed by city and state officials. Are we not living in the United States of America, where if you are able to provide a better product and/or service than another, you are now penalized for this?

This is a civil liberties issue now, as how can the government forbid who enters one's home? For all those that are crying about having strangers in their building, do you know every single tenant who resides in your building? Do you do background checks for all neighbor's guests - whether it be friends/family from out of town, or a stranger someone met in a bar? Part of being a NYC resident is always meeting strangers.

Put aside the rude guests that don't follow normal resident rules (no loud noise at night, in hallways, etc.), but just as important, the irresponsible hosts that don't communicate such 'common sense rules' to their guests who arrive and are going to use one's premises for their short term stay.

NYC passed this law, solely, on the pressure and MONEY from hotel lobbyists. There have been hundreds or thousands of people who have made an honest living renting out apartments for tourists and business people who come to NYC without ever having a problem. NY lawmakers, decided not to take account these individuals and are now going after individual apartment owners/renters who need this additional income as many have lost jobs and do not wish to seek moving, but need this source of income to pay their mortgage or rent.

There has to be a happy medium. For any law that has ever been passed, it's usually because one party is affected negatively, or in this case, income reducing. NYC hotels run at an occupancy rate of 86% at an average rate of $ 360/night (that's $ 9288 per month) for a small room, where normal rent would be between $ 1500-3000, but also including a kitchen. How can lawmakers justify renting out one's apartment (provided it's not breaking the lease agreement) is bad or illegal? NYC last year had $ 50+ BILLION of revenue from tourists in 2012.

Many people are now seeking cheaper accommodations than hotels as hotels are usually not very clean and are located in areas that don't give a feel of being in a different city. The people who choose this form of accommodations are NOT going to pay an exorbitant amount of money to lay their heads, and would NOT be coming to NYC if that is their only option. Resulting in lost tourist revenue.

Airbnb is nothing but a mediator, and should not hold any responsibility for those that break their own building rules. But for the government to decide who or who can't come into one's home is purely UNAMERICAN!

Wake up people, unless you enjoy over paying for a bed and a shower, do something about our civil liberties and take some action!

Jul. 13 2013 02:30 PM

When will you understand that this is about $$$$$?? The reason why apartment renting is illegal is because the city can't collect taxes from it!

Apartment renting happens all the time... ever heard of Trump Soho??

Jun. 06 2013 12:03 PM
Sean from Staten Island, NY

If AirBnb is so confident about their model and how it does not inconvenience others, then I invite them to contact me to rent a room in their homes (I assume they live in homes, not apts, since they dont seem to understand the issues presented by their model with apartment living). I will rent their room and then I will put their room in their house on AirBnb for sublet by the day/week. They can see first hand how someone else renting out a room in their home to strangers in an unchecked and uncontrolled fashion can be at the very least concerning and more than likely disturbing...

Jun. 06 2013 10:04 AM
Sajh from Brooklyn, NY

The amazing activity is that AirBnb has not been fined for being a party to these illegal activities. I have lived in a building in midtown where this activity happened. It was a small building with about 10-12 units renting out on a daily or weekly basis. I was woken up many times by tourists who do not operate on the same time-table as full time residents with jobs. Trash was left in our hallways b/c the tourists don't understand that it isnt a hotel (and therefore there is no daily cleaning service). Trash bags left in the hallways b/c they don't understand what a garbage chute is. Being loud in the hallways at all hours, moving furniture or playing loud music / tv, not understanding how you are supposed to behave in a residential building where people have to be up early for work. We have even had tourists come back into the building drunk and break lobby furniture, even kick out our elevator door. Tell me how this is anything but AirBnb and individual apartment owners/leasees looking to make a quick buck without a concern in the world about the people who they effect. And this doesnt even speak about the added risk to strangers unchecked (no one checks backgrounds of these guests!), the added fire hazard risk (they might not know how to use the stove correctly) and then the risk that the tourists pose to themselves being in a building that is not designed for emergency egress to unfamiliar people. I can't wait for pedophiles to use this arrangement as a trojan horse to get into buildings with children in them or a criminal to use this service as a way to gain access to a high profile building to rob it. In short, this is a bad idea and bad mix. Shame on AirBnb.

Jun. 06 2013 09:55 AM
Sajh from Brooklyn, NY

The amazing activity is that AirBnb has not been fined for being a party to these illegal activities. I have lived in a building in midtown where this activity happened. It was a small building with about 10-12 units renting out on a daily or weekly basis. I was woken up many times by tourists who do not operate on the same time-table as full time residents with jobs. Trash was left in our hallways b/c the tourists don't understand that it isnt a hotel (and therefore there is no daily cleaning service). Trash bags left in the hallways b/c they don't understand what a garbage chute is. Being loud in the hallways at all hours, moving furniture or playing loud music / tv, not understanding how you are supposed to behave in a residential building where people have to be up early for work. We have even had tourists come back into the building drunk and break lobby furniture, even kick out our elevator door. Tell me how this is anything but AirBnb and individual apartment owners/leasees looking to make a quick buck without a concern in the world about the people who they effect. And this doesnt even speak about the added risk to strangers unchecked (no one checks backgrounds of these guests!), the added fire hazard risk (they might not know how to use the stove correctly) and then the risk that the tourists pose to themselves being in a building that is not designed for emergency egress to unfamiliar people. I can't wait for pedophiles to use this arrangement as a trojan horse to get into buildings with children in them or a criminal to use this service as a way to gain access to a high profile building to rob it. In short, this is a bad idea and bad mix. Shame on AirBnb.

Jun. 06 2013 09:55 AM

Leave a Comment

Email addresses are required but never displayed.

The Morning Brief

Enter your email address and we’ll send you our top 5 stories every day, plus breaking news and weather.

Sponsored

 

Feeds

Supported by