The Real Deal New York

Private eyes are watching you: Investigators are staking out illegal Airbnbs

Tenants claim they've been wrongly forced out of their apartments, and they're fighting back
December 27, 2016 09:19AM

Airbnb founders Joe Gebbia, Nathan Blecharczyk and Brian Chesky

Airbnb founders Joe Gebbia, Nathan Blecharczyk and Brian Chesky

The battle between some renters and Airbnb is reaching new heights in San Francisco.

Attorneys in the city are hiring private investigators to uncover illegal short-term rentals, Bloomberg reported. The attorneys work for tenants who claim they were wrongly forced out of their apartments so that their landlords could list the properties on Airbnb.

“We strongly oppose illegal hotels and bad actors who remove housing from the market,” company spokesperson, Nick Papas, told Bloomberg. “We’ve removed thousands of listings from our platform that aren’t right for our community. We are committed to working with cities to address their specific needs.”

Affordable housing advocates in New York City have argued that Airbnb has driven up rents in Manhattan and Brooklyn. An analysis by The Real Deal last year found that Airbnb pushed up rents by as much as $69 per month in Williamsburg/Greenpoint. Still, the state has cracked down on the website. In October, Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a bill into law that raised the fine for hosts with illegal Airbnb listings up to $7,500. The San Francisco-based startup recently settled a lawsuit it filed against the city over the new law. [Bloomberg] — Kathryn Brenzel