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Airbnb, New York in talks to resolve rental law lawsuit

US district judge Katherine Forrest in Manhattan cancelled a hearing that had been set for Monday so both sides could 'work out a consensual resolution', the source said. Photograph: (Getty)

New York, United States Oct 31, 2016, 09.28 PM (IST)

Airbnb is in talks with the New York state to resolve a lawsuit brought by the online marketplace and homestay network challenging a law it says could expose it to penalties for advertising short-term apartment rentals, Reuters reported on Monday.

The potential accord was revealed after US district judge Katherine Forrest in Manhattan cancelled a hearing scheduled for Monday. A source told Reuters that the hearing was adjourned so both sides could "work out a consensual resolution."

Forrest, in a one-page order, directed the parties to provide her with a status update by the end of the week.

Airbnb filed the lawsuit in Manhattan federal court on October 21 after Governor Andrew 
Cuomo signed a law legislation that imposed fines of up to $7,500 on hosts who advertise illegal short-term rentals on platforms like Airbnb.

Airbnb opposed the legislation, saying that the law’s ambiguous text could allow New York authorities to apply the law to online platform like itself that host third-party listings, creating a potential risk of  criminal liability and significant penalties, 

The lawsuit comes in the midst of clashes between Airbnb and local public officials seeking to minimise the impact of short-term rentals on neighbourhoods and urban housing market space.

The company has also filed a lawsuit in San Francisco to block a new requirement that it reject booking fees from property owners who have not registered with the city.

Airbnb says  it cannot legally be held responsible for how landlords use the  platform. If required to enforce local laws on short-term rentals, the company's listing could drastically reduce in some of its biggest markets.


(WION with inputs from Reuters)

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