Airbnb has defeated a lawsuit by Apartment Investment & Management Co that was seeking monetary damages and court orders to stop the short-term home-sharing website from enabling tenants to effectively break their lease agreements through unauthorized sublets. Denver-based Aimco also claimed that tenants at its expensive apartment complexes in Los Angeles, have been complaining about noisy Airbnb tourists staying in illegal Airbnbs. The property management company said it had to hire more security staff to monitor its properties and to track down and evict illegal Airbnb guests.
But, a federal judge ruled in favor of Airbnb in the lawsuit. U.S. District Judge Dolly Gee based her decision on the Communications Decency Act (CDA), a 1996 law that insulates online service providers from liability for the content users post. “Here, what allegedly makes the listings ‘unlawful’, ‘illegal’, or ‘offending’ is that they advertise rentals that violate Aimco’s lease agreements. Airbnb hosts, not Airbnb, are responsible for providing the actual listing information”, Gee explained in her decision on December 29. In a response, Aimco said, “We disagree with the court’s reasoning and application of the Communication Decency Act and we are considering all of our legal options in California.” It is also engaged in litigation in Florida where Airbnb’s motion to dismiss was denied several weeks ago.
Airbnb can now continue to support tenant hosts who use its platform to help pay the bills. By the partnerships it has established with landlords, the company wants to make home sharing a win-win situation for everyone.