Airbnb takes up renter’s case against NYC

Web-based company fights for rights to rent person-to-person
June 06, 2013 12:00PM

Airbnb founders

From the New York site: Web-based home sharing service Airbnb has taken the unusual step of representing a user in court, appealing a fine an Airbnb user was instructed to pay in administrative court in Manhattan on his behalf, WNYC reported.

Nigel Warren, who owns a condominium that he rented to a Russian visitor for three nights, was fined $2,400 for violating the city’s hotel laws, which now prohibit short-term subleasing.

The website’s representatives noted the risks of engaging the city on the issue, but said they believed it was important to fight for individuals’ rights to rent person-to-person using their service.

“We know that by stepping up and fighting for Nigel and our community, we have made ourselves a target and will now face attacks in the press and from people who do not understand who our community really is,” said David Hantman, Airbnb’s head of global public policy, in a blog post cited by WNYC. “But the amazing activity that is happening in New York and other cities around the world is worth fighting for.”

Airbnb is represented by Gibson Dunn & Crutcher. [WNYC] –Guelda Voien