Infuriating: Detroit says it will take a pause for legal review before enforcing a new zoning ordinance that would ban homeowners through much of the city from accepting AirBnB rentals. The ordinance would interpret rentals as home-based businesses, which are disallowed in residential zones, and on its face appears to prohibit taking in even friends or relatives to share quarters if the person pays rent. Following a public outcry, the city council put out word that it does not intend to ban AirBnB and will amend the ordinance if necessary to avoid that. [Tom Perkins/Metro Times, Robin Runyan, Curbed Detroit, Deadline Detroit]
At the New York Times, Katie Benner investigates documents from the hotel industry’s intensive efforts to use government regulation to derail competition from AirBnB, which focused especially on cultivating “alliances with politicians, affordable housing groups and neighborhood associations” as well as hotel unions:
The association also sought help from politicians in Washington. In its documents, the group said it had worked with Senators Brian Schatz of Hawaii, Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Dianne Feinstein of California. The three Democrats sent a letter to the Federal Trade Commission in July “raising concerns about the short-term rental industry,” one of the hotel association documents said.
More: Eric Boehm, Reason.
“Dozens of Miami property owners who rent their homes and duplexes to visitors through home-sharing platform Airbnb spent all day at City Hall on Thursday pleading with city officials to buck a legal opinion declaring their business an illegal nuisance. Instead, Miami commissioners reaffirmed that position in a 3-2 vote, threatened to sue Airbnb for promoting clandestine activity, and then told the hosts who placed their names and addresses on the record that they had outed themselves to code compliance.” [Miami Herald, Eric Boehm/Reason]
Some localities intent on regulating room sharing don’t seem fully aware that “federal law — specifically CDA 230 — prevents any laws that look to hold internet platforms liable for the actions of their users.” While that law does not prevent cities from aiming regulations at their own residents, it means they might not have the authority to assign liability to platforms such as AirBnB for residents’ failure to comply. [Mike Masnick, TechDirt; G.S. Hans, CDT]
Win cash rewards! Under a proposed initiative in San Francisco, neighborhood snoop/informants could pocket 30 percent of fines and taxes imposed [David Kravets, Ars Technica]
Because you thought he was some kind of big privacy advocate or something? “Attorney General Eric Schneiderman subpoenaed the data as part of an investigation into the website stemming from a 2010 law that makes it illegal to use such sites to rent out your own apartment.” He says he’s after the 15,000 or so customers who used the service to let guests stay on their premises for a fee. Next: Craigslist? [New York Daily News, Matt Welch/Reason]
“Renting your bedroom to a stranger is probably against the law in most cities. It’s time to change that.” And yes, hotels are lobbying against the idea. [Matthew Yglesias, Slate]
- Should an assault that does not injure its target count as non-violent? New York’s version of bail reform encounters strong pushback amid rash of street attacks [Israel Salas-Rodriguez, Khristina Narizhnaya and Laura Italiano, New York Post; Lauren Krisai, Jason Pye, and Norman Reimer, Slate; Rafael Mangual (New Jersey’s reform compare favorably); Scott Greenfield]
- “I think if they pay a small [amount of] money to us on the island, it would be better”: Vanuatu indigenous group says bungee jumping has roots in traditional land-diving ceremony [Prianka Srinivasan, ABC (Australian)]
- Thread on AirBnB liability for crime [Kate Klonick on Twitter]
- Federalist Society podcast with Andrew Grossman commenting on outcome in New York v. ExxonMobil [earlier and generally]
- “The New York Times and the sheriff do not understand the ‘stand your ground’ defense. Or they are purposefully misinterpreting it.” [Jacob Sullum, Reason; earlier on SYG]
- Claim: businesses have incentive to stop marketing and selling to perennially discontented persons, and law should restrain them from doing that [Yonathan Arbel and Roy Shapira, Vanderbilt Law Review forthcoming]
“With the spate of unicorn startups going public in 2019– including Airbnb, Slack, and WeWork–experts are forecasting a surge in IPO litigation, and some worry it may deter companies from ringing the bell in the first place.” [Guadalupe Gonzalez, Inc. magazine]