The Real Deal Miami

Miami judge rejects dismissal of Aimco suit against Airbnb over sublet apartments

Miami-Dade Circuit Judge William L. Thomas ruled that Airbnb isn't totally immune from lawsuits over its listings for short-term rentals
July 14, 2018 09:15AM

Flamingo Center Tower at 1504 Bay Road in Miami Beach (Credit: WorldwideProperties.com)

A Miami judge refused to dismiss a suit filed against Airbnb by Aimco, a leading landlord that wants the home-sharing platform to stop listing its apartments in Miami and Miami Beach as vacation rentals.

The judge rejected Airbnb’s argument that the company is not liable for listing information that hosts put on its online platform, claiming immunity under the 1996 Communications Decency Act.

That defense worked in December, when a California federal judge dismissed a similar suit against Airbnb, ruling that Airbnb hosts are responsible for listing information, not the company.

But Miami-Dade Circuit Judge William L. Thomas ruled Wednesday that Airbnb isn’t entitled to blanket immunity from any suit involving third-party information on its website.

The judge’s ruling sustained the suit that Aimco filed against Airbnb in February 2017. Based in Denver, publicly held Aimco is one of the largest owners and operators of apartments in the nation, with 184 properties in 22 states.

Miami-Dade Circuit Judge William L. Thomas

Aimco’s case against Airbnb centers on contractual leasing terms that prohibit tenants subleasing apartments at three of its properties: the 471-unit Bay Parc Plaza Apartments at 1756 North Bayshore Drive in Miami, and in Miami Beach, the 515-unit Flamingo Center Tower and the 614-unit Flamingo North Tower, at 1504 and 1508 Bay Road, respectively.

According to its lawsuit, Aimco contacted Airbnb three times in 2016 to inform the company that tenants of the three buildings had rented their apartments multiple times, violating both their lease contracts with Aimco and an Airbnb agreement with hosts.

The suit claims Airbnb had the legal right to delete listings of Aimco’s apartments because the hosts violated a terms-of-service requirement that Airbnb listings “will not violate any agreements with third parties.”

Aimco alleges that Airbnb rentals at its Flamingo properties in Miami Beach have become such a noisy nuisance that four tenants have gone to court to break their lease contracts. [Miami Herald] – Mike Seemuth