City sues HomeAway for failure to submit listings data

Filing is part of city's investigation into short-term rentals
By Mary Diduch | May 23, 2019 03:23PM

HomeAway president John Kim

HomeAway president John Kim (Credit: HomeAway)

The city is suing HomeAway to force the short-term rental website to turn over records related to listings on its platform.

As part of its investigation into short-term rentals, the city in February hit HomeAway and Airbnb with a subpoenas for records of thousands of listings. Information on listings for properties marketed on Vrbo, a HomeAway affiliate, also were requested.

While HomeAway’s counsel has acknowledged receiving the request, the company hasn’t turned over any documents yet, according to the city’s new filing Thursday in New York County Supreme Court.

HomeAway “has not produced any responsive materials and has refused to even determine the quantity of potentially responsive records through a search of its own records,” the filing states.

The city and HomeAway did not immediately return requests for comment.

HomeAway has not provided written objections to the request, but the city alleges that the platform’s counsel has raised various constitutional and statutory reasons why it doesn’t want to comply.

Through its investigation, the city identified at least 900 listings that it wanted more information on, according to the filing.

Meanwhile, a judge last week approved an agreement between the city and Airbnb that established a plan for the HomeAway rival to comply with its subpoena — a request for details on some 20,000 listings.

Airbnb and HomeAway aren’t the only targets of the city’s crackdown on short-term rentals. The city also has gone after small homeowners, landlords and a brokerage firm.

Expedia picked up HomeAway for $3.9 billion in 2015. Last year, the travel-booking site then acquired two more startup short-term rental platforms — Pillow and ApartmentJet.