The Real Deal Miami

Aimco’s suit against Airbnb targets sublets at Bay Parc Plaza and the Flamingo

Lawsuit says short-term renters cause disruption, concern for employee and tenant safety
By Francisco Alvarado | April 12, 2017 02:15PM

Flamingo towers

Airbnb has a powerful new enemy in Miami and Miami Beach.

Two months ago, Aimco made headlines when the publicly-traded property management company announced it filed lawsuits against Airbnb in California and Florida accusing the online short-term rental booking company of engaging in “illicit subletting.” Yet details such as which specific Aimco properties are involved in the litigation went unreported.

The Real Deal obtained Aimco’s lawsuit filed in Miami-Dade Circuit Court alleging Airbnb allowed tenants at the Bay Parc Plaza Apartments in the Miami and the Flamingo South Beach towers in Miami Beach to rent their units on its online short-term rental booking site.

Property records show Aimco purchased Bay Parc in 2004 for $62.5 million and assumed ownership of the Flamingo following the company’s acquisition of another real estate investment firm in 1999. Bay Parc Plaza is located at 1756 North Bayshore Drive. Flamingo South Beach‘s towers are at 1500 Bay Road.

The allegations could provide ammunition for Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado and Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine, who are engaged in a public campaign to rid their cities of illegal short-term rentals on sites like Airbnb.

Aimco, which is an acronym for Apartment Investment and Management Company, claims it conducted internal investigations that revealed “there have been dozens, if not hundreds, of unlawful subleases at [both] properties through Airbnb in the past year.” The lawsuit states that short-term renters cause disruption and concern about the personal safety of Aimco’s employees and tenants.

“By way of example, among several other disturbances, one individual illicitly subletting at the Flamingo through Airbnb became intoxicated and repeatedly struck a balcony door, creating a significant disturbance,” the lawsuit states. “The individual broke the glass of the door, causing a serious laceration and resulting in an ambulance being called at 2 a.m.”

The Denver-based company alleges some tenants have sued Aimco to break their leases due to the unauthorized Airbnb rentals and that the web-based company repeatedly ignored warnings that listing apartments at Bay Parc and the Flamingo were “unlawful.”

An Aimco spokeswoman referred TRD to a previously released statement by the Denver-based company’s CEO Terry Considine: “Our residents are our top priority. We are committed to providing them a safe and respectful environment. It is not acceptable to us that Airbnb actively promotes and profits from deliberate breaches of our leases, and does so in utter disregard of the disrespectful and unsafe situations created for our full-time residents and their families.”

In an email statement provided to TRD, Airbnb spokesman Ben Breit denounced the lawsuit. “This attack on the middle class by powerful interests is wholly without merit,” he said.

Last month, Miami-Dade and Broward counties approved mutual agreements with Airbnb to collect tourism taxes from locals who rent their residences on the online platform.