Airbnb and the New York State Attorney General's office are expected to square off in court Tuesday over a case that has been back-and-forth since October when AG Eric Schneiderman issued a subpoena seeking details on thousands of people he suspects are renting out rooms illegally.
"It is illegal for residents of Class A [multiple dwelling] buildings to rent out their apartments for any period of time less than 30 days unless they are also present in the apartment," the AG's office states in its November rebuttal to Airbnb's attempt to quash the subpoena.
The court date has been postponed for several months, and Airbnb has said it is negotiating with the state to find a way to start collecting hotel-type taxes on behalf of the tourists and other short-term renters looking for something cheaper or more unique than the city's 500 hotels.
But New York City has rules on who is allowed to rent out any or all of their home to short-term renters of less than 30 days and makes clear whether taxes must be paid. For its part Airbnb, has said a New York state law prohibits the company from collecting those taxes on behalf of its users. If it was allowed, Airbnb estimates the annual revenue for the city and state would be $21 million.
An affidavit filed Monday by the Schneiderman's office is based on the research of Sumanta Ray, the director of research and analysis with the Investor Protection Bureau of the New York State Attorney general. He found that as of Jan. 31, there were 19,522 NYC listings on Airbnb with 15,677 unique hosts. Although most people had only one listing, 1,849 hosts had multiple listings -- that 12 percent accounted for 30 percent of all the NYC listings on the site, he found.
In addition, only one of all those listings required a minimum stay longer than 30 days.