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Airbnb Hotels Legal Battle Against US Lawmakers

Travelers Today       By    Joana Dyan Ordonez

Updated: Oct 17, 2016 02:22 PM EDT

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airbnb, senator elizabeth warren, Hotel industry, new york, Helen Rosenthal
Pros and cons of Airbnb
Published on Oct 14, 2016
Many home owners are split on the short-term rental market.
(Photo: CBC News/youtubescreenshot/

Lawmakers join Senator Elizabeth Warren's appeal for US to 'step in' on illegal Airbnb hotels. According to MSN, a joint letter marks the boom of a growing campaign for Airbnb to eliminate illegal hotels that take affordable housing off the market.

The letter, also signed by advocates in Los Angeles, Oakland, Denver and Boston, argued that the companies have opposed efforts to intensify transparency, have provided misleading data and continue to allow advertisements for illegal rentals even when cities ban commercial operations.

The push comes months after Warren urged the FTC to examine Airbnb, an unprecedented step in US lawmakers' scrutiny of the booming "sharing economy".

The Guardian also detailed that New York state has had a law on the books regulating short-term rentals.

Accordingly, the said law is intended to prevent illegal hotels, particularly in areas (like New York City), where there is a limited supply of affordable housing. Short-term rentals can incentivize landlords to choose tourists over residents and introduce transitory visitors in residential neighborhoods.

As lawmakers take aim at Airbnb, rental hosts carry the burden. Airbnb is stumbles upon voluminous resistance as its market expands.

The hotel industry is not happy with the boom of Airbnb and is unpleased with the innovative company. It would appear that Airbnb is dignified to take a sizable chunk out of hotel revenues in major cities across the globe.

There is also reports from CNNMoney that in 2013, new owners of a four-unit building in Los Angeles evicted their tenants, some of whom had lived in the building for decades, in favor of offering the properties as Airbnb rentals.

In addition to the probable inopportune eviction, cities and municipalities fear a potential influx of short-term renters who will turn residential neighborhoods into little more than unregulated hotels.

Regulators and city and municipality officials aren't happy in addition to the fact that the battle over taxes, permits and zoning laws, and friction between Airbnb and city officials is likely to continue for the foreseeable future.

According to the Guardian, Airbnb, which has developed a powerful lobbying arm, has argued that it is not legally liable when its users post listings that violate city housing laws. Local efforts to tighten restrictions and force the company to disclose uniform statistics have led to litigation and political fights.

"This is a national problem, and it needs a national response," New York City council member Helen Rosenthal said in an interview. "It all comes back to Airbnb not having to take responsibility for the actions of its hosts."

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