Anyone who reads this blog knows it has been a pretty busy couple of weeks for us in New York. The New York State Attorney General subpoenaed almost all of our hosts’ user data, we protested that demand in court, and now thousands of people have signed a petition demanding a new, better law in New York.
But the most inspiring part of my week was when I was joined by several hundred hosts on my very first webinar. I was honored to hear from so many thoughtful, responsible hosts who want to know what the subpoena means to them and to Airbnb, and who were eager to offer assistance. What I love most about Airbnb is that we are a community of ordinary people with extraordinary stories. Hearing from so many of our users reminded me why this fight is worth it.
On the call, I tried to answer as many questions as I could about how current events might affect our New York community. The bottom line remains the same–we are going to fight this overly broad subpoena with everything we’ve got. And in the end, we believe that we can find common ground with New York because we all agree that we should stop bad actors from abusing the Airbnb platform or evading taxes.
I also promised to provide information that could be helpful to everyone trying to understand how we got here, what the laws are, and what we hope to achieve.
With that in mind, here are three links I promised:
1. The 2010 law banning illegal hotels
This law was designed to crack down on businesses that were converting multiple apartments and even entire buildings into illegal hotels. Shutting down these bad actors is a goal we all share. But even the authors of the legislation said people like Airbnb hosts were not the targets of the law. Read the legislation here.
2. The proposed legislation we support to change the law
We have long advocated for a change in New York law that would allow regular New Yorkers renting out their own homes occasionally throughout the year to do so without the threat of government intervention or fines. The good news is that a bill to do just that was introduced this year, and we expect it to be debated sometime in 2014 when the legislature in New York reconvenes. Read the proposed legislation here.
3. Fighting the subpoena
After the Attorney General demanded data on Airbnb hosts, we filed a motion in New York State Supreme Court objecting to this demand. You can read the two critical documents here and here.
I hope this information is helpful. And please know that we will be continuing this dialogue with our community. We will always stand with you.