Judge Blocks NYC Law Demanding Airbnb Disclose User Data

To most people, maintaining the privacy of personal information is very important especially when divulging that information to others. Airbnb almost lost a large base of their customers in New York due to a law that required them to give out their customers’ information. They, however, found reprieve when they were told not to “comply” until the issue was sorted out in court.

A petition from Airbnb and HomeAway Inc was granted by a judge who ruled that the orders issued by the city’s governance should be halted. The district judge Paul Engel Mayer stated that the home sharing companies had higher chances of winning against the rule that was supposed to take effect on 2nd February. This was because the law would have been an infringement on the constitution that prohibits “unreasonable searches and seizures”.

This new law was passed by council members who claimed that the services rendered by the home renting companies disrupted the long-term rental procedures and reduced profits. It was therefore meant to reduce such rental arrangements.

The law requested the short-term letting institutions to give their client’s personal details to the city council as well as the duration of the renter’s stay and how much space they were renting. This was to help the council come up with rules prohibiting apartment owners from giving out their apartments for less than a month.

The ruling was described as a “huge win” for the company as well as other citizens by the company’s spokesperson.
This win was important considering the resistance the Airbnb is facing from other regions. Had the law been enforced, it would have given those other areas a “playbook to copy”.

New York’s mayor had a different opinion. He termed the law as “good” and went ahead to explain that it was meant to stop landlords from “creating facto hotels, which is unfair and illegal”.

This seemed to contradict the judge’s sentiment which stated that the rule doesn’t give renters an opportunity to challenge it. In his statement, he explained that the rule was “… unreasonable under the fourth amendment”.

Both parties were told to look for evidence for the pre-trial conference set on May 10th.

Airbnb to Sue the City of New York

Airbnb went to court to sue New York City over a new home-sharing law. The law requires Airbnb to share data about its hosts’ every month with the New York City Office of Special Enforcement. Airbnb claims that the law is an infringement of privacy and violates both the federal and state constitution.


There is an affordable housing crisis in New York City. The administration of the city blames the ever-rising cost of housing on companies like Airbnb which offer short-term rental services. The administration argues that since short-term rentals are more profitable, they drive rent prices up. Therefore, the new law is an attempt to catch Airbnb hosts who do not abide by the home-sharing laws. In fact, the NYC estimates as much as two-thirds of Airbnb listings are illegal.


On the other hand, Airbnb argues that the law violates constitutional rights. The information to be given to the city officials could be shared with other cities or become part of a public record that can be accessed by any citizen.


The company maintains that the law is aimed at intimidating New York people into abandoning home-sharing in favor of hotel accommodation. Apparently, the hotel industry has close ties to the city government through a former city employee.


The legislation was passed in July without opposition and was signed to law by the mayor on August 6. Once the law comes to effect, it will require home-sharing companies such as Airbnb to share information about their hosts, the location of the rental property and the kind of rental (whole unit or partial), how many days it was rented, and the proceeds collected by the host and the booking platform.


According to the Mayor’s Office, the information will provide the city with the data they need to control housing cost, and ensure residents and visitors feel secure and safe in their neighborhoods. The city intends to defend the law. The law will be a big blow to Airbnb in New York, which is its largest market. A similar law in San Francisco saw the number of its listings fall by more than half.


The lawsuit filed on Friday by Airbnb is just one of the company’s many battles with New York City over the past decade. Who will emerge the winner in this lawsuit?

Stringer incorrectly interpreted AirDNA data

On Friday a firm which deals with analysis of Airbnb rentals,Comptroller Stringer Scott, forcefully stroke city claiming with a “deep flawed” research study making use of its own date to accuse this well-known home-sharing service of double-digiting increases in rent in Big Apple parts.

“The report that interrupted incorrectly AirDNA so as to come up with assumptions on Airbnb impact on the rental pieces in New York, makes false conclusions at a very big cost to many of the hosts of Airbnb who rely on that platform to earn their daily living.” The reporting firm said.

The report by Stringer which was released on Thursday laid claims that Airbnb was the reason as to why rent increased by 9.2% average throughout the city between 2009 and 2016 and also for the double increase in some of the neighborhoods which are coveted.

However, AirDNA said it was all wrong by the comptroller. He claimed that, “The comptroller takes every new listing which is uploaded on the site as number listings which were active for that year. Most of the Airbnb listings actually are inactive. They just idly in that site, make no rent and are not booked by guests and hence impact not or less on the prices of rent.

AirDNA said that merge all the types of listings is total misrepresentation and misguide to New Yorkers who rent out their spare rooms so as to supplement what they earn or settle mortgage.
Stringer has assumed mistakenly that even a rental listed and was occupied once in a year impacts equally with professional, full-time managed listing.

This report firm added on and said, most of the active listings comprise of private rooms. Single –listing hosts compared to multi-listing hosts are five times more and 65% of the total properties are under management of hosts having a single listing.
Chris Lehane the spokesman of Airbnb demanded that Stringer should retract that study naming it “hit job” which has the hotel industry behind it.

On Friday, a spokesman of the comptroller said that on basis of information availed by AirDNA, they concluded on same report be it apartments which were listed full-time or part-time on Airbnb.
He added on and said, “Our report stated explicitly that Airbnb was behind the 9.2% increase in cost of housing but not 100%.”