Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Privacy The Courts

New York Subpoenaed AirBnb For All NYC User Data 181

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the have-some-bedbugs dept.
Daniel_Stuckey writes "The war between New York City and Airbnb is raging on, and the future of the hospitality business hangs in the balance. The city is fighting the startup for breaking local laws against operating an illegal hotel out of your home, worried that hustlers are abusing the online service to turn a profit. To that end, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman just slapped the company with a subpoena to hand over the user data of all New Yorkers who've listed their apartment on the site, the New York Daily News reported today. That's about 225,000 users."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

New York Subpoenaed AirBnb For All NYC User Data

Comments Filter:
  • by timothy (36799) Works for Slashdot on Tuesday October 08, 2013 @08:10AM (#45068523) Homepage Journal

    Don'tcha love it that "turning a profit" is here characterized as "abuse"? And to be clear, it's not "the city" in the abstract that has anything against things like AirBnB -- nor is it guests. It's established hotel businesses, which would prefer the current low supply of rooms and the current scheme of regulation which lets *them* profit from the current configuration.

    • by jacknifetoaswan (2618987) on Tuesday October 08, 2013 @08:27AM (#45068623)

      Agreed. NYC has become such an insane town, government-wise, I shudder to think about ever going back. I mean, between soda bans, elevator bans, and their constant harassment over any business that innovates and turns a profit, like Airbnb or Uber, it just feels like Bloomberg and the rest of the town council, have done nothing but create a hostile environment for everyone. I love NYC, I really do. There's nothing better than walking through NYC on a cold winter's morning, eating a potato knish, but damn, it's gotten insane up there.

      • by Cryacin (657549)
        Must of rained on the weekend of their lawyer, Mr Schneiers, fishing trip. Considering that he's gone off on one to see whether hustlers are abusing their privileges. He should be slapped down for that move.
        • by Anonymous Coward

          Must of

          Must have.

          Your school teachers must all be very proud.

      • by Jawnn (445279) on Tuesday October 08, 2013 @09:07AM (#45068965)
        Right. The "problem" in NYC is "the government". No. Seriously. You are quite correct, as in "The government has become the willing lackey for doing the bidding of the monied interests who pay to have 'their' candidates elected." The blame for this lies with elections laws that allow such influence peddling and with an electorate that has failed almost completely to keep itself informed about the issues affecting it and policies of those they elect.
        • You do realize that Mayor Bloomberg is worth $31B. That's not thousands, tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands, or even millions. That's billions. Thirty-one billion dollars.

          I fail to see how any organization is going to influence Bloomberg.

          • I fail to see how any organization is going to influence Bloomberg.

            That includes organizations which serve to protect the public as well. And the idea that a rich person can't be bought or influenced is nonsense. How do you think they got rich in the first place?

          • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Tuesday October 08, 2013 @10:38AM (#45069941) Journal
            At this point, I'm pretty sure that Bloomberg is just playing SimCity: Because I Fucking Can, That's Why, Edition, rather than actively pandering to anybody in particular
          • by Atzanteol (99067)

            I think people are being charitable by assuming he's corrupt when he's really just a moron.

            • I can't say that he's a moron. The guy is a model entrepreneur, and extremely smart, but now seems almost obsessed with stifling innovation and entrepreneurship. It's sad, really.

          • by madhi19 (1972884)
            Bloomberg is part of the establishment hell at 31B he IS the establishment and the establishment hate nothing more than disruptive innovation. The existing pecking order depend entirely on the continuation of the satus quo. Bloomberg might not own any hotel but I guarantee he heard bitching from his "friends" who own them.
      • by Dunbal (464142) * on Tuesday October 08, 2013 @09:14AM (#45069019)

        There's nothing better than walking through NYC on a cold winter's morning, eating a potato knish

        Then you haven't lived.

        • by metlin (258108)

          Then you haven't lived.

          Indeed. OP needs to watch this video, Silence [youtube.com].

        • by Bucc5062 (856482)

          Do tell, what have you done that is better. I'll start, taking a horse around a cross country course with the feeling of being completely in sync with his movements, knowing his concerns, and finishing clear. However, I'll admit a hot pretzel on a crisp winder day in NYC has its joys as well.

      • , it just feels like Bloomberg and the rest of the town council, have done nothing but create a hostile environment for everyone.

        For everyone that isn't already established or has the $$$ to pay so they can play.

      • by gabeman-o (325552) on Tuesday October 08, 2013 @11:58AM (#45071103)

        It's not that simple. If you actually lived in New York, you wouldn't be so quick to say that AirBnB are the good guys here.

        I live in an apartment complex that has tons of rent controlled units. Regardless of your thoughts on rent control, it is something that is the law today and there are a number of strings attached. One of these restrictions is that it has to be your primary residence. There are people here who have turned their cheap, rent controlled apartment into a fly by night hotel. It is 100% illegal and I applaud the city for cracking down.

        Additionally:

        -It reduces the inventory of apartments in New York and artificially inflates rent for people who actually live here.

        -Operating a hotel is something that is regulated by laws and the people renting out space on AirBnB aren't going to adhere to them.

        -There are safety concerns as well, especially for those living in apartment buildings without doormen

        • All valid points, and things I hadn't thought of. That said, I didn't say Airbnb were the good guys, I was more commenting on the state of politics in NYC, well, NY, in general, where government has become the be-all and end-all of every conversation.

          Personally, I think rent control is a terrible idea, but I wonder if all people in NY state, including those that have lavish places on Long Island and elsewhere, have proper licenses to rent their houses. I would not be surprised to see the percentage for NY

          • by LoRdTAW (99712)

            To be honest rent control is the only thing keeping some buildings sane and affordable for all to live there. My brother lives in a rent controlled building on the south side of prospect park, a block away. Its a nice secure building and the rent for a single bedroom apartment is $1200 and a two bedroom is $2000. The apartments are HUGE and to me the $1200 makes it well worth the cost. The bedroom is so big he can fit both his girlfriends computer desk along with his computer desk, a 46" TV, a proper dresse

        • by metrix007 (200091)

          Nonsense. And I do live in NYC.

          Renting out a room in your apartment for a week out of every month, or even just when you go on vacation shouldn't be illegal, and doesn't inconvenience anyone, despite what nosey neighbors may think.

          It's ridiculous that it is at all illegal, as it is pretty far removed from being an illegal hotel, which has a rather narrow definition.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Government is a protection racket. You get what you pay for.

      The trouble with justice is the scales tend to lean to the side with the most gold piled on.

    • by gutnor (872759) on Tuesday October 08, 2013 @08:37AM (#45068709)

      the current scheme of regulation which lets *them* profit

      You are spinning it the other way. Regulation are also costing them. I'm sure lot of hotel would be fine just not having those pesky regulation getting in the way (like you know fire protection, hygiene, using legit employees, insurances, ...)

      • by Diss Champ (934796) on Tuesday October 08, 2013 @08:59AM (#45068885)

        the current scheme of regulation which lets *them* profit

        You are spinning it the other way. Regulation are also costing them. I'm sure lot of hotel would be fine just not having those pesky regulation getting in the way (like you know fire protection, hygiene, using legit employees, insurances, ...)

        On the contrary, as long as the regulations exist and are enforced, the hotels are perfectly happy to include the costs of satisfying the city that they are in compliance (whether by complying or otherwise) by increasing what they charge people to stay. The more regulations, the harder it is for someone to enter the market and compete with them. They (probably correctly) see AirBnb as a form of competition, and are happy to use the regulations as a club to pound on the competition with.

        • Mod parent up.

          Regulations are often used to protect insiders from disruptive outsiders.

          The hotels have gone through the whole certification thing â" fire alarms, sprinklers, etc. I am thinking about the fire code because I think that is a legitimate area for regulation. I am sure there are other suspect areas of regulation.

      • by Charliemopps (1157495) on Tuesday October 08, 2013 @08:59AM (#45068889)

        They are competing against people renting other peoples apartments. It's a joke. This is just like the Alcohol Distributor bullshit that's all over this country. Regulations are supposed to ensure quality, but they are quickly subverted and used by the industry to lock out competition.

      • Regulation are also costing them. I'm sure lot of hotel would be fine just not having those pesky regulation getting in the way (like you know fire protection, hygiene, using legit employees, insurances, ...)

        Think "barriers to entry." [wikipedia.org]

        ~Loyal

      • by Anonymous Coward

        People stay at the Ritz precisely because its expensive. Not just anyone can afford a room there.

        Those pesky regulations are part of the barrier stopping others from joining in on the hotel biz.

        When only the largest corporations can afford to comply regulations, you will be left with only the largest corporations playing ball.

      • by IndustrialComplex (975015) on Tuesday October 08, 2013 @10:22AM (#45069719)

        The problem is a question of volume. In most sane regulations, there are exemptions for people who stay below a certain threshold of behavior. The idea being that if problems do occur, low volume keeps it from being a problem of the scope that impacts vast numbers of people. It's the balance that is missing from the current equation.

        Allowing for exemptions from regulations for low volume activities can be much more beneficial than requiring that everyone follow the exact set of regulations/licenses. A good example of this is the craft beer industry. The craft industry allows part-time/hobbyist level of activity which allows people to develop the experience and skills in brewing. Without this craft industry, I doubt that the micro-brewery industry would be even 1/10th the size it is today.

        One size fits all regulation which covers both true industry and home-garage sized businesses really doesn't work, and that's why we see all these conflicts with services like AirBNB and Uber and the like.

    • by PktLoss (647983) on Tuesday October 08, 2013 @08:38AM (#45068723) Homepage Journal

      I very much think the city can have an issue on its own, without the hotel lobby being involved.

      Property owners are learning that they can make more money posting their apartments on AirBnB than renting them out traditionally. It's in their economic best interest to hire a cleaning service, throw in some flat-pack furniture, and stop renting normally. This distorts the rental market as people who live in the city end up competing with short-term tourists for places to live. Cities want to be somewhere people live, not just somewhere people visit.

      AirBnB hosts also compete against hotels with a stacked deck. They're not forced to charge the standard hotel-night taxes, nor meet ID checking requirements on guests, pay commercial property tax, meet commercial firecode requirements, etc. I can understand why hotels would be angry, but they're far from the only group with a vested interest in the outcome.

      • by Entropius (188861)

        Well, if the property is more valuable as short-term lodging for visitors than for resident rentals, then perhaps that indicates that there is high demand for that, and that this city at this time very much wants to be somewhere people visit.

        • by Digicrat (973598)

          There's also a large number of NYers who want their own place but can't find anything affordable. I'm guessing some of those making more money in AirBnb than with legitimate rentals (or re-rentals) may be subject to rent control laws intended to keep prices affordable for tenants.

          The city has a housing problem, AirBnb is just one example of its effect. Hotels in the city are (mostly) outrageously priced, as are residential apartments/condos. Nobody can live by themselves in the city unless their (a) load

          • Personally, I can't afford a Lamborghini, so I don't buy one. Naturally since I can't afford to live in NYC, I don't do so.

            There are plenty of other places to live where doing so would stand to increase your quality of life. Not because the place itself is better (it may very well not be,) but because your cost of living goes way down, which means it is far easier to live within your means. Sure, Houston isn't New York, but if that night life is your thing, or many other (insert city living required to do a

      • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        >They're not forced to charge the standard hotel-night taxes,
        Which is a stupid tax and should not exist. It's fucking retarded that people put up with "occupancy" taxes and the like.

        >nor meet ID checking requirements on guests,
        Which is a stupid set of laws that should not exist. Very much a "papers please" idea here.

        >pay commercial property tax,
        I very much doubt most of these places are not already paying this. If I rent an apartment fulltime (or own a rental property) tax is being collected on it

      • by cayenne8 (626475)

        ...nor meet ID checking requirements on guests...

        Err...why is there a requirement to check the ID of a guest? You mean you can't check into a hotel there, pay with cash anonymously, without showing a govt ID in NYC?

        Why on earth do they have a regulation like that? What business is it of the govt who is staying where?

        • by tibman (623933)

          Yeah, it sounds backwards. Hotels want a photocopy of the guest's ID because it gives them a place to send the bill if the guest paid with cash and trashed the room. You don't need the ID if they paid with card. I'm guessing guests for airbnb wouldn't need an ID card, just their account name.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by h4rr4r (612664)

      You mean you can't run an unregulated hotel and compete with the regulated ones? Is that a shock to you? Did you know it is also illegal to sell uninspected meat you slaughter at home?

      We regulate hotels and food production for lots of reasons. Sure regulatory capture happens but the alternative just might be worse. If you want to check that out just google for china and pretty much any food item.

      • by gmack (197796)

        But this is not a hotel and customers don't expect to be treated like they are in a hotel. If I'm in a Hotel I expect clean sheets and a level or service. If I'm borrowing someone's apartment I usually bring my own sheets and expect to clean up after myself.

        • by h4rr4r (612664)

          Sure, because you are a house guest not in a hotel.

          I have never made money on having guests over. Typically I will not let them pay for anything, part of being a good host. I also don't tend to invite random folks into my home though.

        • by onepoint (301486)

          Disclosure : I am a realtor, I do rentals and sales

          While you are taking a good stance and I completely agree that you need to bring your own stuff on these rentals. but you are forgetting the other side.

          quality of life : I live in a condo, pay for security services and know my neighbors ( we are a small community of 526 units ). What worries me is that we have a stranger that is not registered and not cleared by the board ( the board has a zero tolerance policy for convicted felons with violent crimes ). so

          • by gmack (197796)

            Well that's fair, if they signed an agreement stating they would not do short term rentals than they are obligated not to and you don't need the state of NY to regulate that for you..

            But keep in mind that that something like airbnb isn't necessarily a problem with maintaining a good quality of life since the renters are rated and those with poor (or no) reputation can be refused. It's the same as when I used to use ebay and certain products were only sold to people with good ratings.

          • by lgw (121541)

            Sure but those are community rules voluntarily contracted to - everyone signed a contract that said "I'm a pretentious twit voluntarily quarantining myself with other pretentious twits away from society", for which we all thank you. That's different from the city foisting a host of arbitrary rules on you.

      • I expect a certain level of service when I go to a hotel - i.e. If I go to a big high rise, I will expect that they have space for me, different room options, dining/bar, pool, business facility, etc. Because of this, it makes sense to regulate hotels differently - fire and electric codes for example.

        This is quite different from someone ocassionally renting out their basement to a visitor.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      It's also people who live in those buildings who don't like their neighbors renting out to people who come in a break things, bring bed bugs and cause security issues for the rest of the tenants in the building.

    • If they're cranking a profit and not reporting it, it's almost certainly an IRS and state tax thing right?
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      You will rapidly change your mind when your neighbour becomes an airbnb. You will find bunches of people paying pittance and holding all night parties, inviting hundreds of facebook friends, having no respect for the property they are in, no respect for you or your home. Then the next weekend you get to look forward to it all again with another group.

      For this reason it needs to be illegal everywhere. (and probably will be soon) You can't take a business which is regulated and controlled to minimise impa

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        I have had this exact thing happen in my neck of the woods. A neighbor rents their place out, so pretty often the street is packed with cars, and sometimes people wind up parking in my driveway. Funny how slow people act to move cars, but how fast they do when the tow truck comes to the area.

        It gets old having 4-10 different people, usually whooping it up all night, trashing the area. Oftentimes, there are things missing when I come out in the morning, be it sprinklers or even trash cans. Could be worse

    • by gl4ss (559668)

      well technically "the city" has rules when it comes to providing bedding to strangers. so doing it for profit and to strangers on short term basis without license indeed is and has been illegal. technically it is for this reason also against airbnb's rules - you're supposed to be "friends" with whoever you're getting the room from. of course what do you need airbnb as a middleman taking a cut if you really are..

      complain against hotel regulation if you want, but technically using airbnb to rent rooms to str

    • So it is the already existing profit makers, who are trying to kill a new model of upcoming profit makers... and of course in a democracy there is the possibility of get it done by lobbying.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Actually, I am an Architect in NYC that has worked with owners of the buildings (which is typically not the owners of the units) that are having to remove violations and stop-work orders in an effort to maintain the building (which requires permits to do so, which cannot be gotten with a stop-work order in place). While there might be "hotel lobby" conspiracies involved, there is actually very legitimate reasons for this on the building life-safety side of things. Most large residential buildings are clas

  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Tuesday October 08, 2013 @08:11AM (#45068525) Journal
    We have another quarter-million names for your stop-and-frisk list!
  • by schwit1 (797399) on Tuesday October 08, 2013 @08:14AM (#45068545)

    AirBnb, please tell the city to go F itself. If the city has a problem with certain property owners they can request data on those specific owners. The city shouldn't be permitted to go on a fishing expedition to prove a theory.

    This is just like the NSA demanding all phone records from Verizon with the possibility that only a few may be terrorists.

    • by bill_mcgonigle (4333) * on Tuesday October 08, 2013 @08:33AM (#45068683) Homepage Journal

      If the city has a problem with certain property owners they can request data on those specific owners.

      I wonder when they seize my-diary.com if they're still going to claim third-party disclosure as a legal theory and insist that people have no expectation of privacy in their data.

      The city shouldn't be permitted to go on a fishing expedition to prove a theory.

      You say that like the 4th Amendment applies to Herr Bloomberg.

      This is just like the NSA demanding all phone records from Verizon with the possibility that only a few may be terrorists.

      NYC has its own army, its own missiles - why not its own NSA? Those guys in DC shouldn't get to do all the goosestepping!

  • by DNS-and-BIND (461968) on Tuesday October 08, 2013 @08:21AM (#45068585) Homepage

    Well, on one hand New York City really needs the money. On the other hand, these AirBNB rent-seekers are already well-off (because they [a] live in New York City and [b] could afford SO much extra space that they actually have ROOMS TO RENT) don't need any extra money. These disruptive technologies need to be shut down before they impact the bottom line.

    The City of New York likes to wet its beak in everything. No matter what your racket is, as long as it's in cousin Vinny's turf then you gotta pay the man. Or else this - just like in the article - cousin Vinny makes a few connections to find out where you live. Then, you get a threat and either you pay or the enforcers show up at your door to beat some sense into you, Brooklyn-style. I (heart) NY. Why would anyone live anywhere else?

    • by khallow (566160)

      these AirBNB rent-seekers

      That's an interesting play on words (here, "rent-seeking") since NYC and the established hotels are the actual rent-seekers here (in the economic sense).

      • That's an interesting play on words (here, "rent-seeking") since NYC and the established hotels are the actual rent-seekers here (in the economic sense).

        Not necessarily. There have been numerous cases reported by regular tenants in apartment buildings where:

        1. The owner of the building wants the higher short term rental fees that he/she can get via airbnb rather than renting to someone who intends to actually live there year round.

        2. An "investor" buys up one or more coop/condo apartments for the sole purp

        • by khallow (566160)

          All of these cases are detrimental to the existence of a stable, affordable housing market in NYC

          Let's look through the cases in question. Cases 1, 2 and 4 clearly aren't detrimental to the existence of a stable, affordable housing market since the landlord is responding to pricing signals from people who desperately need short-term rental housing rather than long-term rental housing. Case 3 is a tough one since there are illegal actions going on. The harm to the renters mooching off of life-long cheap rent might outweigh the societal benefit of getting rid of them.

          and lead instead to a city in which only tourists and rich folks can find a place to live.

          So what? I don't see a problem with

          • You apparently misunderstand the term "stable, affordable housing".

            "Stable, affordable housing" means that people, including families, including families with children, can afford to put down roots in the community and get on with their lives. It means that school age children don't get shuffled off to a different school every year because their family had to move again because their rent was doubled.

            It doesn't mean that the housing market provides a stable source of upward spiraling income for landlords s

            • by khallow (566160)

              "Stable, affordable housing" means that people, including families, including families with children, can afford to put down roots in the community and get on with their lives. It means that school age children don't get shuffled off to a different school every year because their family had to move again because their rent was doubled.

              So why should New York City support such a model? I think the flawed thinking here is assuming every place should be able to sustain your desired social ideal even when doing so would be very expensive for various reasons. I wouldn't expect, for example, New York City, Silicon Valley, Washington, DC, or Detroit to be able to do so. I wouldn't expect some place without any infrastructure whatsoever, say, a wild environment without even road access. My view is that if you want a stable environment for a famil

              • By attempting to block the technology altogether and punish anyone who participated.

                No, you are misinformed there also.

                It is only the "pop up motel landlords" whose information has been subpoenaed, not as you say "anyone who participated".

                Here is link to an article that explains that:

                http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2013-10-07/airbnbs-15-000-landlords-in-new-york-face-scrutiny-from-prosecutors [businessweek.com]

                which clearly states:

                "Airbnb's legal troubles continue to mount in New York with an acknowledgment Monday that t

                • by khallow (566160)

                  Which is as it should be of course. For example, if I make a reservation to stay at a firetrap motel that subsequently burns down, it is the motel operator/owner, not I, who is held for the crime of negligence because of his responsibility in running a firetrap motel.

                  That's not the story here since we're not speaking of "firetraps". Keep in mind that private residences also have to obey the rather strict fire regulations of NYC (or surrounding areas). We're also not speaking of just "pop up motel landlords" since the Attorney General subpoenaed records of all people who rent through the site. It could be quite a few people affected by this.

    • To be fair, I know a few people that rent rooms via Airbnb, and while one or two actually do have extra space that they can rent, the majority either own dedicated rental properties near a beach, or travel quite a bit for work, and rent their primary residences while they're away.

      I know that this is purely anecdotal, but not everyone that rents via Airbnb is a rich, selfish snob who doesn't need any extra money.

    • by melikamp (631205)
      NY will lose this one, though. In particular, because individual renters won't stand for being shaken down. If NY steps on AirBNB's throat, then a less centralized system will replace it, operating on razor-thin or even zero margins, and everyone will happily rent without reporting ANYTHING. If that's what they want, they should send black vans to the AirBNB headquarters right now. A more prudent course of action would be to make this service explicitly legal, tax it, and regulate it.
  • AirBNB HELL!!!!!!! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 08, 2013 @08:29AM (#45068653)

    Am right now 5:20 AM in the morning in Los Angeles in AirBNB HELL!!! The property management company for the building next door has started renting out units on AirBNB, probably not telling the property owner and collecting the difference in rent. Right now there is a huge party going on next door and it started at 3 AM. This is not the first time this has happened. Tenants in the building couldn't park in their own spots because the party guests took them last time. When they complained to management they where told if you pay as much as their paying in rent you can have the spot back. Am sure the cops have been called more then once. Am guessing that the tenets will sue because keeping a peaceful residence is one of major parts of leases. I've also told one or two of them that I am keeping a log and am willing to testify in any court case. Speaking of which am going to call the cops just to have an official record of my complaint.

    AirBNB needs to figure this out or be made illegal. End of fucking story. If I get fired from work for being up all night. I will talk to a lawyer about using AirBNB.

    • by Shavano (2541114)

      Am guessing that the tenets will sue...

      I am sure that tenets cannot sue.

      • by onepoint (301486)

        maybe, lease contract have quality of life issues. so they need to file complaints with the police, then present that report to the management company and the association ( if it's a condo ). once those steps are done, you need to wait about 30 days to see if any action is taken. if not, then you can break your lease within reason.

        • No, tenets cannot sue. Anything. Ever. tenet: noun 1. a principle or belief, esp. one of the main principles of a religion or philosophy. A tenant, however, can. As opposed to tenant: noun 1. a person who occupies land or property rented from a landlord.
    • by Entropius (188861)

      This has nothing to do with AirBNB and everything to do with a garden-variety disturbance of the peace and trespassing (on the parking spots). Don't blame AirBNB for people being dicks; the criminals here were the guests.

    • by onepoint (301486)

      I feel your pain, it's a quality of life issue. this is the sort of thing you need to file with the local city a complaint, Your owner ( if you rent ) that there is a problem in the community and if you are an owner read the association rules about the rental policy.

      I am rather sure that if you are assigned a parking spot, no one else can use it. and if it's on your lease or purchase contract, just walk downstairs, call the tow truck company and present your valid proof that your spot is in violation with a

  • If you have a big idea it's likely to ruffle some feathers of legacy players in the space where you're trying to innovate. Increasingly, those players will have purchased favorable legislation that will be used against you if you start luring their customers away with better offerings. If you're located in the US you'll have no effective defense against that kind of shakedown.

    Internet-delivered services can be provided from anywhere in the world - it's far safer to base these businesses in an entirely di
  • > That's about 225,000 users

    It's important you 225,000 let the elected officials know your displeasure at this at the next election. Especially the ones who throw up their hands and say, "I had nothing to do with this!"

    • by westlake (615356)

      It's important you 225,000 let the elected officials know your displeasure at this at the next election. Especially the ones who throw up their hands and say, "I had nothing to do with this!"

      The population of New York is 8.3 million. Quite a few I suspect who have no interest whatever in seeing their apartment building being transformed into a cut-price hotel --- without hotel security, fire protection and so on.

      • by tompaulco (629533)

        The population of New York is 8.3 million. Quite a few I suspect who have no interest whatever in seeing their apartment building being transformed into a cut-price hotel --- without hotel security, fire protection and so on.

        In order to operate a BnB, the land has to be zoned for it. Being an apartment, it may already be. However, if it is not, the rezoning needs to be run through city council. Any property owners (not renters) within X distance are notified of the request to change the zoning. Even if you are just a resident, you can still show up to city hall and voice your displeasure.

    • ...barring any newly released sex tapes, heroin possession charges or anything similar.

      I'm not sure where de Blasio stands on this issue specifically but somehow I suspect that he's not really going to take a real entrepreneurial tack on it.

      NYC has a major affordable housing problem and I'm sure there's affordable housing advocates that would argue that residential property should be residential or at least only usable for residential purposes, which makes some sense from a supply/demand perspective for res

  • by Anonymous Coward

    THIS is how governments "solve" your problems - by selling themselves to the highest bidder. In this case, the local hotel industry.

    Give the government more power and it will be used against you.

    And guess what? Saying "everyone needs to pay their fair share of taxes" gives government more power

    Taxes. They WILL be used against you.

    Can you spell "NSA"? Or "TSA"?

  • by Shillo (64681)

    Respond in print. Use 6pt Brush Script, in green, on red paper.

  • by runeghost (2509522) on Tuesday October 08, 2013 @10:24AM (#45069753)
    Ignore billions in mortgage and other bank fraud, then go after the little people trying to make ends meet.
  • by ZorinLynx (31751) on Tuesday October 08, 2013 @10:36AM (#45069899) Homepage

    Try finding a room in Manhattan (that isn't a shithole) for under $200 a night.

    Yup, that's exactly why this company is being harassed. The established hotels are enjoying their little collective monopoly that causes the concept of an affordable hotel room in Manhattan to be a pipe dream.

    You see things like this (ridiculously high hotel room prices) and become suspicious that there is some sort of "cartel" or organization propping them up. Then you see news articles like that and your thoughts are vindicated. There is so much damn corruption out there...

  • Trying to run a business without paying for protection.

"Now here's something you're really going to like!" -- Rocket J. Squirrel

Working...