Newly leaked documents show how the hotel industry systematically pushed for anti-Airbnb legislation last year and worked to sway public opinion against the short-term room rental website.
In early 2016, trade group American Hotel and Lodging Association launched a “multipronged, national campaign approach at the local, state and federal level,” focusing on major cities like New York, Miami and Los Angeles, the New York Times reports.
In the Big Apple, the group pushed for harsher fines against Airbnb hosts found to have violated housing laws. In October, Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a law imposing up to $7,500 in fines on illegal listings, which the hotel group later listed among its “notable accomplishments.”
According to the documents cited by the Times, the hotel industry’s goal was “advancing a national narrative that furthers the focus on reining in commercial operators and the need for commonsense regulations on short-term rentals.”
The group also claims in the documents that it lobbied Senators Brian Schatz (Hawaii), Elizabeth Warren (Massachusetts) and Dianne Feinstein (California). The three lawmakers sent a letter to the Federal Trade Commission in which they expressed “concerns about the short-term rental industry,” according to the documents.