The following statement is a response from the American Hotel and Lodging Association (AHLA) regarding the article in The New York Times titled, Inside the Rise and Fall of a Multimillion-Dollar Airbnb Scheme. In the frontpage Sunday story, New York City officials uncovering an unlawful Airbnb scheme involving more than 100 misleading host accounts and 18 corporations created to run an illegal hotel business in Manhattan to avoid lodging taxes and oversight. The statement below is attributable to William “Chip” Rogers, President and CEO of AHLA.
“While the magnitude of this illegal scheme involving Airbnb is shocking, the fact is similar bad actors have been caught running the same ploy in other major cities across the country. Airbnb is the main culprit to blame for these illegal activities because the company refuses to prohibit this type of illegal activity and vigorously attacks city leaders who try to rein in commercial operators. Those who set up illegal and fraudulent rentals ultimately reduce the availability and affordability of housing for local permanent residents.”
“Airbnb’s CEO has committed to a one host, one home policy, ‘true home sharing’, yet the company fights city leaders who try and implement this very policy. The company’s leaders claim they want to pay taxes, but only if it’s under their secret, voluntary and non-auditable tax agreement. Airbnb alleges the company is in favor of registration and compliance for their hosts, yet the company sues city governments to withhold vital information from city officials trying to protect housing. Enough is enough. It is time for state and local leaders to pass stronger short-term rental laws and enforcement because Airbnb has shown it is incapable of preventing illegal and fraudulent activity on its platform.”