Airbnb denounces hotel-backed NYC sting operations as “second-rate KGB spy tactics”

Hotels have been pretty vocal about their aggravation over the rise of Airbnb, and some are putting their money where their mouth is. According to Bloomberg, some hotel-backed groups are running Airbnb sting operations in New York City, where it’s illegal to rent an entire unit for less than 30 days if the host isn’t present or if it’s being rented to more than two people. 

The group behind the sting operations is Share Better, which Bloomberg describes as “a partnership between hotel union and industry leaders aiming to expose illegal Airbnb activity.” They hire private investigators who book stays at Airbnb rentals in New York in the hopes of catching hosts ignoring the law and plan to spend $1 million of its members’ money to expedite the process of finding and removing illegal Airbnb listings. (They’re also helping run a parallel campaign in D.C. and advising one in L.A.)

While New York’s attorney general and the Mayor’s Office of Special Enforcement—which spends the bulk of its time cracking down on illegal rentals—are probably happy for the help, Airbnb and the hard-hustling hosts aren’t too thrilled by the move. “The hotel industry and its lobbyists are using Share Better to spy on New Yorkers,” Josh Meltzer, Airbnb’s head of New York public policy, told Bloomberg. “The city should reject these second-rate KGB spy tactics and work with Airbnb to sensibly regulate home-sharing.” Read the full story over at Bloomberg while rethinking your New York City vacation plans.

[Photo: anestiev via PixabayML