Airbnb drops its lawsuit against New York

The city touts it as a victory over illegal short-term rentals.

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AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews
AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews

Some of Airbnb's larger US legal battles are winding down quickly. In the wake of a settlement with the state, the rental listings company is dropping a lawsuit against New York that fought a ban on short-term rentals where the tenant isn't present. State assembly member Linda Rosenthal describes this as a victory over a "foolhardy and frivolous" complaint, although there is a degree of compromise involved. Officials won't aim to directly punish Airbnb, Rosenthal says. While they'd never intended to single out Airbnb in the first place, the focus will instead be on the people abusing services for bootleg hotels and similarly sketchy operations.

The end to the lawsuit was expected given the settlement, but the tricky bit is what comes next. While Airbnb and New York are hoping to work together on eliminating illegal rentals, how they approach cooperation is up for debate. The law lets New York pursue anyone who offers rentals for less than 30 days when they aren't present, even if it really is their primary residence. Airbnb doesn't want officials to chase after those people -- it would prefer that they tackle systematic abuse, such as snapping up apartments with the sole intention of renting them to short-term guests. The firm might object if New York goes after well-meaning hosts who simply want to make money while they're out of town.

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