New York Attorney General to Subpoena Airbnb on Sublets

New York apartment buildings in Soho are of Manhatten with typical exterior fire escape ladders.
Janine Wiedel Photolibrary/Alamy
By Supriya Kurane

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is set to subpoena online home-rental marketplace Airbnb seeking records to identify users who are illegally renting out apartments, the New York Post reported, citing sources.

Nearly two-thirds of New York city apartments recently listed on Airbnb were illegal sublets, according to an affidavit from the state Attorney General's office, the newspaper said.

The affidavit, which is expected to be filed in court Monday by the AG's office, shows 64 percent of Airbnb's 19,500-plus offerings for Jan. 31 cover an "entire apartment," the Post said.

More than 200 of the offerings came from just five "hosts," suggesting third parties were renting out pads on behalf of their owners, the newspaper said.

Schneiderman opened an investigation last year into whether hosts on Airbnb, a Silicon Valley venture capital-backed website that lets people put up spare rooms or couches for rent, are breaking a 2010 law that prohibits renters from subletting their room for less than 30 days.

Schneiderman's office first demanded in August that the company turn over records of all Airbnb hosts in New York State. State prosecutors issued a subpoena in October after failing to obtain the records, despite several rounds of negotiations with Airbnb lawyers. Airbnb then went to court to block the subpoena.

A group led by private-equity firm TPG Capital Management has agreed to invest $450 million in Airbnb, valuing the online home-rental marketplace at $10 billion, a source familiar with the matter told Reuters on Friday.

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