Airbnb is claiming a victory for the sharing economy after a New York appeal board overturned an earlier ruling.
Back in June, the accommodation marketplace said it was going to help Nigel Warren, a New York-resident who (along with his landlord) was appealing against fines of $2,400 for renting out a room in his apartment.
At the time Airbnb global head of public policy David Hantman wrote on the company blog saying it felt the ruling was wrong and laid out its reasons for helping Nigel.
It argued that the city's short term rental laws are not broken if a permanent occupant is also there during the stay.
Now, Airbnb is celebrating a decision from the New York City Environmental Control Board to reverse the fines saying on its blog:
"Much of the New York law is confusing, with some provisions applying to certain buildings and not to others. But this shared space provision was crystal clear. We intervened in this case because the initial decision on Nigel's case was so clearly wrong, and we are pleased to see that the board agreed."
Airbnb has also said new regulations are before the New York State Senate and New York State Assembly to make changes to the city's 2010 legislation regarding rentals.
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CEO Brian Chesky has blogged a response to the news about the New York City decision.
Chesky says for the first time that Airbnb thinks its reasonable for its hosts to pay tax. (Incidentally, city's occupancy tax is $2 per day plus 5.875 percent of the total rent for rooms that cost more than $40 a day.)
After running through a history of his company and claiming that only 13% of hosts live in the Midtown Manhattan hotel district, Chesky ends with these statements:
Other cities like Seoul, Amsterdam and Hamburg have already embraced this vision and the sharing economy. New York can do the same.
On behalf of our New York City community, we want to work for sensible laws that allow New Yorkers to share their space, earn extra income, and pursue their American Dream. And we want to work with New York to pass laws that meet three fundamental principles:
We believe regular people renting out their own homes should be able to do so, and we need a new law that makes this clear.
Our hosts are not hotels, but we believe that it makes sense for our community to pay occupancy tax, with limited exemptions for those who earn under certain thresholds. We would like to assist New York City in streamlining this process so that it is not onerous.
We are eager to work with New York to remove bad actors in our community that are causing a disturbance to their neighbors, and will create a 24/7 Neighbor Hotline where we will service the complaints. [Emphasis added]
It's an interesting overture to city regulators.
In other news, Chesky has hired the founder of Joie de Vivre Hospitality, Chip Conley, as head of global hospitality.