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In a new legal setback for Airbnb, the home-sharing company must now disclose its New York City-based hosts’ names and addresses with officials in the city.
That’s what a new bill the New York City Council passed unanimously says. The new law is designed to more strictly enforce the city’s existing rules banning short-term rentals. Airbnb says the move puts the needs of hotels owners over those of everyday New Yorkers, saying it violates the privacy of the Airbnb hosts.
“This is a bill that really is designed to benefit the hotel industry,” Chris Lehane, head of global policy at Airbnb, said in a conference call with reporters.
Supporters of the bill, however, say that the short-term rentals lead to higher rents and speed along gentrification. “This is about preserving as much affordable housing and housing stock as possible,” the councilwoman who introduced the legislation, Carlina Rivera, told Bloomberg. “I would hear stories all the time of landlords that were hoarding apartments, that were running illegal hotels.”
In recent years, New York City has been tightening regulations against Airbnb and other short-term home-sharing startups, essentially banning rentals of the like that last less than 30 days. The $31 billion start-up has faced similar resistance from city governments before.
In fact, earlier this week, Airbnb was in trouble with the European Union for several violations against EU regulations. The San Francisco-based company was under fire for being opaque in how it presents its prices to customers and lists whether a rental is privately owned or leased out by a company.
So, Airbnb isn’t too worried about the New York City law.
“Most of our revenue is really coming from a much, much larger group of cities,” Lehane said. “This is not going to have an impact on us from a broader business perspective.”
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