After Nigel Warren rented out his East Village apartment for a few nights on Airbnb, he returned to an unpleasant surprise. Special enforcement officers showed up while he was away and cited his landlord for five violations related to illegal transient hotels. Suddenly Warren was facing over $40,000 in fines. The New York Times reports that Airbnb is well aware these rules exist but neglects to make them clear to renters like Warren who live in urban areas. Ultimately, Warren’s charges were dismissed because the buildings department never filed the paperwork.
Airbnb’s latest fund-raising materials state the company is worth $2 billion. But Janan New, executive director for the San Francisco Apartment Association, said that a company with that declared worth should be socially responsible enough to declare the laws. He told the Times, “And if they’re not capable of that, then their worth isn’t that high.”