The feud between Airbnb and New York is not new. For the past decade, they have embroiled in a high profile rivalry. On the one hand, this hospitality service brokerage wants to be legitimized in its biggest market. But on the other, New York City’s strict short term rental laws make Airbnb’s rentals illegal. This ongoing enmity has also affected New Yorkers as finding affordable housing is difficult.
In February, New York’s mayor, Bill de Blasio subpoenaed the company for records of more than 17,000 listings that weren’t anonymized. The mayor explained that this was a measure to force this enterprise to provide transparency about their rentals. But after years of lawsuits, countersuits and lobbying campaigns, New Yorkers can now be relieved since the company has found a way to share that information with the government without privacy being compromised.
The Lost Battle
The data dump involved listings from January 2018 through February and was given to the city on April 5th. The agreement came to be as a response to a subpoena from the Mayor’s Office of Special Enforcement (OSE) in Manhattan Supreme Court on May 15th.
Now, OSE can request listing information containing user records from this hospitality service enterprise but only if they can prove that the info will be helpful to an investigation. They were given one year to make that request. The city will be using the data to determine operators who disrupt the city’s housing stock and damage New Yorker’s neighbourhood, placing residents and visitors in danger.
Liz De Fusco spoke on behalf of Airbnb and said that this deal is the first step towards finding a lasting solution to this problem. With this agreement, the company hopes that they can work with the city to find a consistent solution that’s within its lawful rights and obligations.
More To Come
But, this enterprise and OSE still have other four separate cases awaiting in the same court against each other on whether Airbnb should be compelled to share user information with the city. The company was however ordered to respond to the OSE subpoenas for records from listings in three cities: Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens which the city suspects they are illegally used. The information in these files, however, is to remain confidential as per court orders.