Airbnb to Provide Rental Data to City Council

Airbnb, the short-term rental website, recently reached out to the City Council to discuss sharing data that would help the city crack down on those who are taking advantage of the site by running illegal hotels out of apartment buildings. After years of resisting handing over data, the company has changed course after a particularly contentious City Council hearing, wherein council members slammed the company for "turning a blind eye" to how users were abusing the website.

"You know that a large percent of your revenue comes from people who are doing this illegally," Councilman Jumaane Williams said to Airbnb's head of global policy, Chris Lehane, who testified at the meeting, but at the time couldn't present customer data. A committee headed by Williams heard more than five hours of testimony on three bills that are aimed at reforming the abusive practices of Airbnb and other short-term rental site users.

Rosenthal, who has been asking for the data for years, has written a bill that would punish illegal hotel operators as much as $50,000, which would be some of the toughest enforcement against the global company in the country. Lehane told City Councilwoman Helen Rosenthal that the company would meet with her before Thanksgiving to discuss what data they could share to crack down on illegal operators.