Well, that was quick. A day after a State Supreme Court judge squashed Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s request for three years of AirBNB user information, the AG’s office has issued a new request as promised.
Here’s the statement from spokesman Matt Mittenthal: “Since the judge rejected all of AirBnb’s arguments except for a narrow technical matter, our office has served the company with a new subpoena that addresses that issue. The judge specifically found evidence that a ‘substantial’ number of Airbnb hosts may be violating the tax laws and the law that prohibits illegal hotels. The time has come for Airbnb to stop shielding hosts who may be violating a law that provides vital protections for building residents and tourists.”
In his ruling, Justice Gerald W. Connolly sided with the Attorney General in saying the subpoena wasn’t unduly burdensome to AirBNB and didn’t violate user privacy, as the apartment rental service had argued. But the judge also found that subpoena, as written, sought “materials that are irrelevant to the inquiry” because it requested information on those who offer “rentals for less than 14 days, or for fewer than three occasions during the year,” and are therefore exempt from having to pay hotel taxes. The judge also said the Attorney General was wrong to request information on those who’ve only used AirBNB once, or for “very limited periods.”