Home-sharing service Airbnb is the darling of travellers looking for a literal home away from home. But New York City is not amused that the company’s operation violates its hotel laws that now ban short-term subleasing.
Airbnb representatives are aware of the risks involved in taking NYC to task on this. But the company believes so strongly in individual homeowners’ rights to rent out their properties that Airbnb is representing one of its homeowner/users in court.
Nigel Warren is a condo tenant who sublet his unit to a Russian visitor via Airbnb’s website service. He was subsequently fined $2400 in administrative court for doing so.
David Hantman, head of global policy for Airbnb, admits the company feels like David opposing Goliath. “We know that by stepping up and fighting for Nigel and our community, we have made ourselves a target and will now face attacks in the press and from people who do not understand who our community really is,” he blogged. “But the amazing activity that is happening in New York and other cities around the world is worth fighting for.”
Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher is the law firm representing Airbnb. The growing community of Airbnb owners and renters worldwide is cheering for David.