Multifamily industry organizations, municipal and county government, neighborhoods, hotels and lodging, and homeowners’ associations have filed briefs in support of Apartment Investment and Management Company’s (Aimco) lawsuit in California to hold Airbnb legally accountable for brokering and promoting illegal short-term rentals, according to a release.
In June Aimco filed its own Ninth Circuit brief in its appeal of a December 2017 U.S. District Court ruling that the federal Communications Decency Act (CDA) grants Airbnb “immunity” from liability for its brokering of illegal short-term rentals at Aimco’s apartment communities.
Illegal broker of short-term rentals
“Airbnb is a full-fledged real estate broker of illegal short-term rentals and should be held to the same level of scrutiny and accountability as a ‘brick-and-mortar’ broker engaged in comparable unauthorized activities,” Aimco’s legal representative Mike Williams, said in a release.
“The CDA defense does not protect travel giant Airbnb for its business conduct which goes far beyond passive publishing to encompass a suite of brokerage and support services that facilitate, promote, and consummate these rental transactions that Airbnb knows are illegal.
“Aimco is joined by a strong coalition of organizations who share our concerns that Airbnb’s unchecked actions violate local laws, create disruptions and safety concerns for residents, and introduce a revolving door of strangers into neighborhood communities,” Williams said in the release.
New York neighborhood associations also joined appeal of the Aimco lawsuit
“Airbnb’s pitch that it helps the little guy ‘make ends meet’ and just facilitates short-term uses of extra space in resident-occupied units, may sound nice, but the reality is very different,” Tom Cayler, President of New York’s West Side Neighborhood Alliance, said in the release.
“In New York City, for example, most listings are for entire units. Airbnb rentals are routinely taken off the market for long-term use and are run like mini, unauthorized, and unregulated and illegal hotel rooms.
“Airbnb does not ‘share’, they take. This problem will only grow worse until Airbnb can be held accountable for its misconduct that goes beyond simply publishing property listings,” Cayler said.
Aimco lawsuit in California and Florida
Aimco is pursuing legal actions in California and in Florida to stop illicit short-term rental activities that are expressly prohibited in Aimco’s lease agreements, according to the release. Despite repeatedly notifying Airbnb of this provision and asking Airbnb to stop, Airbnb has refused to cease brokering illegal short-term rentals. While all prospective Aimco residents undergo criminal background checks, many Airbnb customers are unvetted and unknown trespassers who pose potential safety risks and have caused disruption and, in some cases property damage, at Aimco apartment communities, the release says.