Airbnb Wins Case Against SF Landlord

Is Airbnb being used to facilitate illegal short-term apartment rentals? …Or is it simply a great (and necessary) way for tenants to afford skyrocketing costs by renting out their extra rooms? Well, like most things in life, it all depends on your perspective. But for now, a federal judge has now tossed out a lawsuit that tried to crack down on tenant hosts using the site without their landlords’ permission.

According to the SJ Mercury News, U.S. District Judge Dolly Gee (yep, that is her real name) ruled the startup was in the right. She found Airbnb is protected under the Communications Decency Act, a law that shields internet platforms from liability for the content third-parties post on their websites. That means Airbnb is not responsible for the actions of tenants who choose to use Airbnb to violate their leases.

Now Aimco, a massive landlord that owns apartment buildings in the Bay Area and throughout the U.S., had tried to force San Francisco-based Airbnb to police tenants who list their apartments on the site in violation of their leases.

“We are pleased with the court’s decision that ensures Airbnb can continue to support tenant hosts who use our platform to help pay the bills,” Airbnb spokesman Nick Papas wrote in an e-mailed statement. “The partnerships we have established with landlords have made it clear that home sharing can be a win-win situation for everyone.”

Aimco disagrees with the court’s ruling, spokeswoman Cindy Lempke said Tuesday, and the company is weighing its legal options.

“Airbnb is not a passive online platform, but an active and knowing participant in the illegal short-term rentals of our apartments,” Lempke wrote in an emailed statement. “Aimco has made the deliberate choice to expressly prohibit short-term rentals to unaccountable Airbnb users who have not undergone our background screening, who cause disruption for our residents, and who are apt to treat our apartments like hotel rooms rather than homes. We will continue to do all we can to stand up for our residents, advocate for our private property rights, and address the upheaval caused by Airbnb.”

And there you have it. One landlord’s problem is another tenant’s possible solution — and thus we have disputes. In the business world, they are everywhere because we just don’t see the world the same way. And when disputes like landlord/tenant matters, contracts or even collections create problems for YOUR business, call in the always-legal short-term-renter and long-term-litigator Dean Sperling who will work to resolve YOUR matter with YOUR best interests in mind!

More on the case:
Airbnb wins: Court tosses lawsuit brought by major landlord