Airbnb, New York in talks to resolve
rental law lawsuit: source
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[November 01, 2016]
By Nate Raymond
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Airbnb Inc and New
York state are in talks to resolve a lawsuit brought by the company
challenging a law it says could expose it to significant penalties for
advertising short-term apartment rentals, a person familiar with the
matter said on Monday.
The potential accord was revealed after U.S. District Judge Katherine
Forrest in Manhattan canceled a hearing that had been set for Monday.
The person said the hearing was adjourned so both sides could "work out
a consensual resolution."
Without referencing the potential resolution, Forrest, in a one-page
order, directed the parties to provide her with a status update by the
end of the week.
The company filed the lawsuit in Manhattan federal court on Oct. 21
after Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed into law legislation that imposed fines
of up to $7,500 on hosts who advertise illegal short-term rentals on
platforms like Airbnb.
Airbnb had contended that the law's ambiguous wording could allow New
York authorities to apply the law to online platforms like itself that
host third-party listings, creating the risk of significant civil
penalties and criminal liability.
Airbnb did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Monday. A
spokesman for Cuomo had no immediate comment.
The lawsuit came amid ongoing clashes between the online lodging service
and local public officials seeking to minimize the impact of short-term
rentals on neighborhoods and urban housing markets.
In a case that is a crucial test of Airbnb's business model, the company
has filed a lawsuit in San Francisco to block a new requirement that it
reject booking fees from property owners who have not registered with
[to top of second column]
Supporters of Airbnb stand during a rally before a hearing called
"Short Term Rentals: Stimulating the Economy or Destabilizing
Neighborhoods?" at City Hall in New York, U.S. on January 20, 2015.
REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton/File Photo
Airbnb argues it cannot legally be held responsible for how
landlords use its platform. If it is required to enforce local laws
on short-term rentals, that could drastically reduce listings in
some of its biggest markets.
The case is Airbnb Inc v. Schneiderman, et al, U.S. District Court,
Southern District of New York, No. 16-08239.
(Reporting by Nate Raymond in New York; additional reporting by Dan
Levine in San Francisco; Editing by Andrew Hay and Dan Grebler)
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