Airbnb fights NY attorney general's subpoena - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

Airbnb fights NY attorney general's subpoena

Posted: Updated:
NEW YORK (MYFOXNY) -

Renting out someone's apartment is an easy way to get an inexpensive place to stay if you're a tourist, and cheaper and more convenient than most hotels. But now the government is stepping in and trying to get a handle on a booming business that may not be playing by the rules.

State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is squaring off in court with multi-million dollar Internet company Airbnb.

Airbnb advertises places to stay in 34,000 cities in 192 countries. But what it is doing in New York City has officials on alert. The popular site lists everything from a bunk bed for $22 to an entire luxury apartment for five figures. You can book whatever you like, as long as you'd like, just like any travel site. Airbnb tells us it is a way for apartment dwellers to make extra cash, and give tourists affordable options. But the attorney general says it violates state housing law that bans sublets of less than 30 days.

State Sen. Liz Krueger says that in the city's super tight housing market, it puts city residents at a disadvantage.

Schneiderman estimates that two-thirds of the nearly 40,000 rentals are illegal. While Airbnb portrays the renters as individuals, the AG says some are speculators cashing in, with one company listing 134 different apartments. Because Airbnb is an Internet company, it's not even clear if local laws apply.

A federal crackdown could be in the future, says Rep. Charles Rangel.

The neighbors of those renting on Airbnb can be in for surprises and safety concerns, say community activists. Reports of brothels, late-night parties, front doors left open, and overcrowding can create havoc with New Yorkers' everyday life, says Tom Cayler of the West Side Neighborhood Alliance.

And for parents the risk of transient strangers coming into contact with their children is real, says City Council Member Robert Jackson.

Airbnb says it intends to keep fighting the attorney general's demand for personal information about who is renting out their apartments on the site. Airbnb also says it would like to pay $21 million in taxes if officials would just allow it.

  • Local NewsLocal NewsMore>>

  • Time Warner Cable service restored

    Time Warner Cable service restored

    Wednesday, August 27 2014 8:53 AM EDT2014-08-27 12:53:05 GMT
    Time Warner Cable suffered a nationwide outage primarily impacting its Internet service on Wednesday morning. The problem occurred during routine maintenance of its Internet backbone, the paths that local or regional networks connect to in order to carry data long distances, reported the Associated Press. Service was largely restored by 6 a.m., and updates continued to bring customers back online.
    Time Warner Cable suffered a nationwide outage primarily impacting its Internet service on Wednesday morning. The problem occurred during routine maintenance of its Internet backbone, the paths that local or regional networks connect to in order to carry data long distances, reported the Associated Press. Service was largely restored by 6 a.m., and updates continued to bring customers back online.
  • NJ store clerk accused of kissing customer

    NJ store clerk accused of kissing customer

    Wednesday, August 27 2014 8:41 AM EDT2014-08-27 12:41:29 GMT
    Police say a convenience store clerk in New Jersey hugged and kissed her against her will.
    Police say a convenience store clerk in New Jersey hugged and kissed her against her will.
  • Woman bitten by rabid raccoon she thought was cat

    Woman bitten by rabid raccoon she thought was cat

    Wednesday, August 27 2014 8:04 AM EDT2014-08-27 12:04:56 GMT
    An 88-year-old Hamden woman was hospitalized after being attacked by a raccoon she mistook for her cat. Police say the woman, whose name has not been released, heard a sound at her sliding glass door Sunday and opened it to let her cat inside. Police say it appears the raccoon followed the feline into the home.
    An 88-year-old Hamden woman was hospitalized after being attacked by a raccoon she mistook for her cat. Police say the woman, whose name has not been released, heard a sound at her sliding glass door Sunday and opened it to let her cat inside. Police say it appears the raccoon followed the feline into the home.
Powered by WorldNow

WHBQ-TV | Fox 13
485 S. Highland St.
Memphis, TN 38111

Main Station: (901) 320-1313
Newsroom: (901) 320-1340

Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | New Terms of Service What's new | Ad Choices