Airbnb’s web site for rooms to rent in New York City. ()
Airbnb is providing the New York Attorney General’s office with the names of 124 of its hosts under the disclosure agreement that the Internet company reached with the office this spring.
Attorney General Eric Schneiderman requested the names based on an analysis of information of about 16,000 hosts that have used Airbnb’s website to advertise the availability of their homes or bedrooms for short-term rentals. The information was provided on an “anonymized” basis, meaning the identities of the hosts were not revealed (NYLJ, May 22).
The “vast majority” of the 124 hosts are no longer making apartments or bedrooms available to renters through Airbnb’s website, according to a blog posting from David Hantman, Airbnb’s head of global public policy.
He said it was unclear why those 124 were being targeted. However, Hantman said the small number of names has allayed the fears Airbnb’s lawyers expressed during a recent court fight that the AG’s demand for information was too expansive and would encompass Airbnb hosts who are not breaking occupancy or hotel tax laws.
“The vast majority of our hosts are simply renting out their own homes on an occasional basis,” Hantman said. “The law was never meant to target them, and we now believe the attorney general did not mean to target regular New Yorkers either.”
A spokeswoman for Schneiderman’s office, Elizabeth DeBold, declined to comment other than to say the request for the names was in accord with the May disclosure agreement.
Prior to the agreement, Acting Albany Supreme Court Justice Gerald Connolly quashed a subpoena issued by Schneiderman in October 2013, finding it overly broad (NYLJ, May 14).