Wednesday, October 01, 2014

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State Takes Rental Website to Court Over Illegal Lodging Claims

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TWC News: State Takes Rental Website to Court Over Illegal Lodging Claims
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State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is demanding the rental website Airbnb turn over documents that may show its users are breaking state law.

Schneiderman's office says many Airbnb users are treating their apartments like illegal hotels, and that's why they're in court, to demand the rental website turn over internal documents that could prove prove their point.

Lawmakers gathered in Harlem on Tuesday, where they say a number of illegal rentals exist, to push Airbnb to cooperate.

They say that state law makes it illegal for someone to rent out their apartment for less than 30 days unless they are also staying in the apartment.

But lawmakers say many are violating that law by renting apartments and then subletting them like hotel rooms which, in turn, they claim exacerbates the affordability crisis in the city.

"We find cases where individuals go and rent out five, 10, 100 apartments to turn them into 365-day-a-year illegal units. Even if you just do it on one apartment that is illegal and every one of those units is then disappeared from residential housing, driving up the cost for all of us for remaining housing," said State Senator Liz Krueger of Manhattan.

Airbnb says Schneiderman's request is too broad, adding that the vast majority of Airbnb hosts - some 87 percent - are simply renting out the home in which they live.

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