A Californian judge has dismissed a lawsuit filed against the property rental provider Airbnb, which claimed that it was deliberately incentivizing people to breach their property leases.
That lawsuit was filed by Apartment Investment & Management Company last February in both California and Florida. Aimco was seeking monetary damages and also a court order to stop Airbnb from allowing people to breach their leases. The company’s main issue with Airbnb is that it allows for people with “unvetted personal histories” together with “no vested interest in maintaining a peaceful community atmosphere”, to temporarily inhabit their buildings.
Aimco went further, filing a motion for a preliminary injunction against Airbnb to halt its operations at four properties in Southern California.
However, Airbnb argued that Aimco’s attempt to ban subleasing wasn’t legal under Californian law. It also said that it could not be held responsible for the conduct of Aimco’s tenants and guests. Citing the Communications Decency Act’s protection of website operators from liability for the content people post on their sites.
In turn, Aimco said that Airbnb is an information content provider, and therefore legally responsible for the content that appears on its site. But the judge in the case ruled otherwise, saying Airbnb is not an information content provider as it only hosts content rather than creating it.
“This conduct does not make Airbnb an information content provider,” U.S. District Judge Dolly M. Gee said in her ruling. “As stated above, an information content provider is statutorily defined as “any person or entity that is responsible, in whole or in part, for the creation or development of information provided through the Internet or any other interactive computer service.”
Naturally, Airbnb appeared to be pleased with the judge’s decision.
“The partnerships we have established with landlords have made it clear that home sharing can be a win-win situation for everyone,” a company spokesperson said. “The Friendly Buildings Program allows tenants to leverage their greatest expense to make extra money and can create new economic opportunities for landlords. We are excited to have many such partnerships in place and we continue to see tremendous interest from forward-looking landlords and developers who understand that home sharing is going to be part of the solution, especially for Millennials who are facing historic debt.”
Aimco still has an active lawsuit against Airbnb in Florida that should be resolved later this year.