Airbnb is an internet venture capitalism project that made it big with a great idea: connecting people willing to rent out their homes to travelers who don’t want to stay in a hotel.
Travelers like Airbnb because:
- It’s less expensive in many places to rent an Airbnb place than a hotel.
- Travelers like having access to a kitchen.
- People like connecting with local natives rather than feeling like a tourist.
- It can be easier to travel with pets in Airbnb rentals than it is in hotels.
- Travelers like the variety and difference that private homes offer.
Real estate owners and renters like Airbnb because they can make extra money for minimum effort.
Airbnb hosts have been sued for discriminating against potential renters. In these cases, plaintiffs alleged that they were denied reservations or lodging because of personal characteristics such as race and ethnicity.
Landlords can also sue their tenants for illegal Airbnb use. If a lease contains a “no sublet clause,” it is illegal for the tenant to rent it out on Airbnb.
Property owners have also been sued by municipalities for Airbnb activity. In a well-known San Francisco case, landlords have been accused of evicting tenants in order to use the property exclusively for Airbnb rentals.
There are several problems with this activity. First, Airbnb rentals are not bound to the same codes and regulations as hotels, even though Airbnb rentals are similar in nature to hotels. Second, in places such as San Francisco where housing is already at a shortage and affordable housing is even less available, using entire apartments solely for Airbnb use exacerbates these problems even further.
New Orleans is another city that has suffered from the overuse of Airbnb. Homeowners who will only rent to temporary lodgers reduce the amount of available rentals for people who can’t afford to buy their own property. Yet for many property owners, renting to tourists is the only way they can afford to keep their own property. It is a complicated economic and legal issue that is still being addressed by courts today.
If you are a landlord or a tenant who has been sued for illegal Airbnb activity, you should consult a landlord tenant lawyer immediately. This is a complex area of law and it is important you have a professional represent you in negotiations or in court.