The fight between Airbnb and New York City is heating up
The company is accusing New York City lawmakers of being paid off by the hotel industry, days before a crucial hearing.
On Tuesday, a New York City Council committee is set to hold a public hearing on a bill that would require disclosure of names and addresses of hosts on its platform, a move Airbnb opposes. Today, Airbnb is releasing a report accusing over a dozen council members of bias because they’ve received campaign contributions from the hotel industry.
Airbnb’s report tallies donations of more than $450,000 going to 15 council members over four years from donors Airbnb described as part of the hotel industry, including the Hotel Trades Council, a union for hotel workers.
If passed, the bill would require Airbnb and other short-term housing rental companies to disclose addresses and names of hosts who rent on their site directly with the Mayor’s Office of Special Enforcement, the agency that investigates cases of illegal rentals.
Over the past decade, Airbnb has had similar battles with other cities but eventually reached data-sharing agreements with some, including San Francisco, Chicago, Seattle and Vancouver.
Last year, the hotel industry ran an ad campaign suggesting that terrorists use Airbnb rentals.
“It is clear from this broad level of support and the personal stories we continue to hear from everyday New Yorkers that this bill needs to be passed to address the urgent housing crisis our city faces, no matter how hard short-term rental companies try to assert differently,” wrote a spokesperson for Carlina Rivera, the New York City council member leading efforts to pass the bill, in an email to Recode.
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