UPDATED, Jan. 4, 2019: A federal judge has blocked a New York City law that would have required home rental services like Airbnb to disclose host data to the city, according to The New York Times. The law was to go into effect next month.
“The city has not cited any decision suggesting that the governmental appropriation of private business records on such a scale, unsupported by individualized suspicion or any tailored justification, qualifies as a reasonable search and seizure," wrote judge Paul Engelmayer of the U.S. District Court in Manhattan. Airbnb applauded the decision, dubbing it a "huge win."
Meanwhile, the Times reports that Mayor Bill de Blasio defended the city stance on home-sharing services and said the city will "ultimately prevail" in court.
- The New York City Council unanimously passed a bill Wednesday forcing Airbnb and other rental services to share data on hosts, and preventing people illegally renting out apartments for a few days at a time to tourists, according to the The New York Times and others.
- Anyone that fails to disclose a listing will be fined $1,500 for each, down from the original $25,000 fine that was proposed.
- "After taking hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from the hotel industry, we’re not surprised the City Council refused to meet with their own constituents who rely on home sharing to pay the bills and then voted to protect the profits of big hotels," Liz DeBold Fusco, a spokeswoman for Airbnb, said in a statement to the Times.
Airbnb has come out swinging on this law, as the latest in a string of cities has passed legislation looking to limit short-term rentals. In a blog post late last month as the city council was considering passage, the company accused council members of being in the pocket of the hotel industry, which makes campaign contributions to numerous elected officials. Airbnb said those elected officials "have continued to place the interests of multinational hotel corporations above the economic needs of those they have pledged to serve."
It represents the latest setback for the short-term rental industry, which has been blamed in part for a crisis in a lack of affordable housing in cities and so has been regulated further by local elected officials. Cities like Boston and New Orleans have recently passed ordinances designed to regulate the industry, including requirements around ownership, occupancy and registration fees, among others. Detroit, meanwhile, had been on the cusp of making such rentals illegal in residential zones, but backed off.
This latest disagreement between Airbnb and the city is part of a wider argument, where cities says that short-term rentals have contributed to rising rents and gentrification, while companies say it helps hosts pay their mortgages or supplement their incomes. Elected leaders said this regulation will help preserve affordable housing, and for its part, Airbnb told Bloomberg that it does not expect this will damage its business significantly.