Paris Martineau at Wired: “For much of the past decade, Airbnb and New York City have been embroiled in a high-profile feud. Airbnb wants legitimacy in its biggest market. City officials want to limit home-sharing platforms, which they argue exacerbate the city’s housing crisis and pose safety risks by allowing people to transform homes into illegal hotels.
Despite years of lawsuits, countersuits, lobbying campaigns, and failed attempts at legislation, progress on resolving the dispute has been incremental at best. The same could be said for many cities around the nation, as local government officials struggle to come to grips with the increasing popularity of short-term rental platforms like Airbnb, HomeAway, and VRBO in high-tourism areas.
In New York last week, there were two notable breaks in the logjam. On May 14, Airbnb agreed to give city officials partially anonymized host and reservation data for more than 17,000 listings. Two days later, a judge ordered Airbnb to turn over more detailed and nonanonymized information on dozens of hosts and hundreds of guests who have listed or stayed in more than a dozen buildings in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens in the past seven years.
In both cases, the information will be used by investigators with the Mayor’s Office of Special Enforcement to identify hosts and property owners who may have broken the city’s notoriously strict short-term rental laws by converting residences into de facto hotels by listing them on Airbnb.
City officials originally subpoenaed Airbnb for the data—not anonymized—on the more than 17,000 listings in February. Mayor Bill de Blasio called the move an effort to force the company to “come clean about what they’re actually doing in this city.” The agreement outlining the data sharing was signed as a compromise on May 14, according to court records.
In addition to the 17,000 listings identified by the city, Airbnb will also share data on every listing rented through its platform between January 1, 2018, and February 18, 2019, that could have potentially violated New York’s short-term rental laws. The city prohibits rentals of an entire apartment or home for less than 30 days without the owner present in the unit, making many stays traditionally associated with services like Airbnb, HomeAway, and VRBO illegal. Only up to two guests are permitted in the short-term rental of an apartment or room, and they must be given “free and unobstructed access to every room and to each exit within the apartment,” meaning hosts can’t get around the ban on whole-apartment rentals by renting out three separate private rooms at once….(More)”.