Airbnb has won a key legal battle in New York City against officials who were trying to curb its activity in the city.
Judge Paul A. Engelmayer of the federal district court in Manhattan blocked a new law that was set to take effect in February, which was designed to curtail what authorities say are “thousands” of “illegal” short term rentals in the city. In his ruling, the judge said the new rules violate constitutional protections against illegal searches.
Engelmayer also said the law was too broad as it essentially requires that Airbnb and other firms hand over almost all of the data in their computer systems. The judge also said the law didn’t provide any framework for hosts or listings companies to challenge any data requests.
The judge’s ruling will only temporarily prevent the law coming into effect. He imposed a preliminary injunction pending further fact finding.
Airbnb cheered its victory in the latest case, having previously criticized the law as tramping over the rights of hosts in an effort to protect the hotel industry.
“The decision today is a huge win for Airbnb and its users, including the thousands of New Yorkers at risk of illegal surveillance who use Airbnb to help make ends meet,” a spokeswoman for Airbnb said.
Airbnb is planning an initial public offering and has committed to being ready for it by July 1, 2019.