Does New York’s new law violate the First Amendment?
This was Airbnb’s reaction after New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a bill that imposes serious fines on anyone who posts a technically illegal short-term rental on the homestay network.
Fines as high as USD $7,500 will be issued to anyone who advertises apartments that violate another law which bans rentals of whole apartments in shared building for less than 30 days.
Back in September, the tech company – valued at USD $30 billion – already threatened a lawsuit if the bill was passed. On Friday, its promised reaction became a reality. Rich Azzopardi, Mayor Cuomo’s spokesperson, said to the New York Times:
This is an issue that was given careful, deliberate consideration, but ultimately these activities are already expressly prohibited by law.
New York lawmakers and many locals believe that Airbnb is upsetting the city’s housing market. On the other hand, New York City is one of Airbnb’s most profitable cities with more than 40,000 listings. But if half of those are entire homes and/or many in buildings, the new law will incur fines for these postings.
Although Airbnb won’t be fined, but its New York hosts will be. On Friday, the San Francisco-based company said it would explore policy solution for its New York hosts who are affected by the law, but it won’t change its websites for New York listings. And it challenges that this new law indeed violates First Amendment and Federal Communications Decency Act.
The company is already wrapped in a lawsuit against San Francisco, with others looming in Amsterdam, Barcelona, and Berlin regarding short-term rentals.
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