The war between Airbnb and its many opponents continues to grow. This week, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is in the spotlight for his recent actions against the company and its competitors. On Friday, Cuomo signed a bill into law that places fines on residents who rent out their vacant apartments on sites such as Airbnb.
The New York law can fine hosts for listing their properties for illegal short-term stays. Fines can reach up to $7,5000 for repeat offenders. Residents can still rent out a room in their house or apartment, but they must also be staying there.
Hours after the bill was signed, Airbnb filed a federal lawsuit saying that the new law would cause ‘irreparable harm.’ The complaint says the law violates the company’s right to free speech in order to promote its business. Airbnb also said the law is vague and conflicts with existing United States laws that are intended to help Internet-based businesses expand.
The company is struggling with several other cities as well: San Francisco, Santa Monica, Berlin, Amsterdam and Barcelona. Friday’s lawsuit was filed against State Attorney General Eric. T. Schneiderman, Mayor Bill de Blasio and the City of New York.
“Airbnb can’t have it both ways: It must either police illegal activity on its own site, or government will act to protect New Yorkers,” Schneiderman said in a statement.
Laws against short-term apartment rentals are not new to the state of New York. In 2010, the state first approved a law prohibiting residents from renting out permanent units for less than 30 days. The bill signed on Friday seeks to expand on the initial law.
“While it is already illegal to occupy a class A multiple dwelling for less than 30 days, this legislation would clarify that it also illegal to advertise units for occupancy that would violate New York law,” the justification for the law says.
Airbnb has made multiple attempts in recent months to convince Cuomo to veto the bill but it has not proven successful. The company says it has 46,000 hosts in the state of New York alone. Josh Meltzer, head of Airbnb’s New York Public Policy said in a statement:
“A majority of New Yorkers have embraced home sharing, and we will continue to fight for a smart policy solution that works for the people, not the powerful.”
Featured Image via Flickr/opengridscheduler