Airbnb Reaches Host Data Agreement with State Attorney General
Airbnb has reached a deal with the New York attorney general in which the rental company will turn over anonymous records of Airbnb hosts for analysis. In the data handed over there will be no names, addresses, or personally identifiable information.
According to New York law, it’s illegal to rent out an entire apartment for less than 30 days, so potentially thousands of the New York City listings on Airbnb’s website are in violation. As part of the new agreement, Airbnb will hand over records of Airbnb hosts, and the attorney general will look for which hosts regularly rent out apartments or have multiple listings.
If the attorney general finds violations, he’ll go back to Airbnb to request individual names and additional information about the hosts that may have broken state housing laws. The attorney general’s office has one year to look over Airbnb’s data.
This is the latest in the dispute between Airbnb and the New York attorney general that began on Oct. 7, 2013, when the attorney general issued a subpoena for thousands of Airbnb users’ names and addresses in order to determine who was breaking the law. Airbnb took the fight to court, stating that it was protecting its hosts in New York City.
On May 13, a judge struck down the attorney general’s subpoena for Airbnb’s host records for being overly broad. Although Airbnb touted the decision as a win at the time, the subpoena was quickly reissued with a smaller scope.
Here are additional details of the agreement as provided by Airbnb:
- Airbnb will provide the attorney general with anonymized data about hosts in New York. This data will not include names, addresses, or other personally identifiable information.
- The attorney general’s office will have one year to review the data and receive information from Airbnb about individual hosts who may be subject to further investigation. Airbnb believes the attorney general’s office is focused on large corporate property managers and hosts who take apartments off the market and disrupt communities. Airbnb has already removed more than 2,000 listings in New York and believes that many of the hosts the attorney general is concerned about are no longer a part of Airbnb.
- Airbnb intends to provide more information to hosts about the laws in New York. Hosts will see additional information before they list their space, and Airbnb will email every host in New York with information about the law.