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Airbnb agrees to give data on users to New York attorney general

New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman wants to go after Airbnb users breaking New York City law on short rentals.
By Frances Burns   |   May 21, 2014 at 3:51 PM   |   Comments

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NEW YORK, May 21 (UPI) -- The online room-renting service Airbnb agreed Wednesday to give data on its users to New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.

Under the agreement, Schneiderman would not get information identifying specific users unless he has evidence they are breaking a New York City law on short-term subletting. The city allows sublets of less than 30 days only when the renters are present.

Schneiderman also argues that residents who rent rooms through Airbnb and similar services should pay the 14.7 percent hotel occupancy tax.

Airbnb and Schneiderman released a joint statement: "Airbnb and the Office of the Attorney General have worked tirelessly over the past six months to come to an agreement that appropriately balances Attorney General Schneiderman's commitment to protecting New York's residents and tourists from illegal hotels with Airbnb's concerns about the privacy of thousands of other hosts."

Last week, a court refused to allow Schneiderman to subpoena Airbnb records, rejecting his argument that as many as 60 percent of rentals arranged through the service in the city are illegal.

Airbnb was founded in San Francisco in 2008 and now has about 500,000 listings in 192 countries. Airbnb Inc. plans to start offering stock to the public, possibly next year.

The company has agreed to begin collecting the New York City hotel tax for users on July 1.

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