The New York City Council on Wednesday is expected to pass a
bill that would require Airbnb to hand over the names and addresses of everyone
in the city who is renting rooms or apartments through the home-sharing
Chris Lehane, global head of policy and communications for
Airbnb, accused the council of pushing through legislation that would obliterate
the privacy rights of New Yorkers in order to protect the record profits of the
powerful hotel industry.
Lehane said 31 members of the 51-member council signed onto
the bill before it was even written, indicating they were interested only in
protecting the privileged over the many New Yorkers who rely on occasional home
sharing to make ends meet.
He called on New York to follow the lead of other cities and
states that have enacted regulations that allow responsible residents to rent
out their rooms and homes while providing the enforcement power needed to crack
down on bad actors.
Lehane said similar legislation to properly regulate home
sharing in New York is being worked on in Albany, so the city action is
"It is clear that the members of the city council are
nothing more than bellhops for the major hotel corporations," Lehane said.
"At the end of the day, it is going to hurt everyday New Yorkers."
Lehane also indicated Airbnb would sue the city for
violating residents' privacy if it enacts the bill requiring the company to
hand over its renters database.
Flanagan, vice president of government affairs and industry relations for the American Hotel
& Lodging Association, commented, "The hyperbolic rhetoric from Chris Lehane aside, the
work undertaken by the New York City Council ensures its constituents are
protected from the negative impacts of short-term rentals and the excessive
steps undertaken by Airbnb to avoid complying with the law.
"Across the country, municipalities large and
small are following the leadership demonstrated in the Big Apple and taking
back their communities. This is another
step in that process and we support New York's elected leaders, ShareBetter and
the many local neighborhood and housing groups as they fight to preserve
affordable housing for the city's workers and residents."