The city’s anti-Airbnb law won’t take effect in February after all

Federal judge has blocked the NYC law

From left: Mayor Bill de Blasio, Brian Chesky, and Corey Johnson (Credit: Getty Images)
From left: Mayor Bill de Blasio, Brian Chesky, and Corey Johnson (Credit: Getty Images)

A federal judge has blocked a New York City law designed to crack down on Airbnb and similar short-term rental platforms.

The law, passed last summer, would have required Airbnb to give the city details about tens of thousands of listings on its site on a monthly basis, along with the addresses and names of their hosts. It was set to take effect in February, and companies that did not share the data would be subject to $25,000 fines for each undisclosed listing.

Judge Paul Engelmayer of Manhattan’s United States District Court granted Airbnb’s request for a preliminary injunction, writing that the company would likely prevail on its claim that the law violates the Fourth Amendment’s guarantee against illegal searches and seizures, according to the New York Times. Airbnb filed the request with the vacation rental site HomeAway.

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Home-sharing companies have been fighting with multiple cities over regulations, and Engelmayer’s ruling could limit how much information local governments can demand from them.

Mayor Bill de Blasio and Council Speaker Corey Johnson were both strong supporters of the law, describing it as a way to fight against rising rents and protect New Yorkers.

Airbnb released a statement praising the decision as “a huge win for Airbnb and its users, including the thousands of New Yorkers at risk of illegal surveillance who use Airbnb to help make ends meet.” [NYT] – Eddie Small