Airbnb got some very bad news today, in the form of a new report from the State Attorney General's office. The report is intended as an impartial survey, a way of determining the scale of illegal rentals taking place on Airbnb's network. According to the report, there's quite a lot: the attorney general discovered more than 100 renters who were controlling ten apartments or more — a clear sign of an underground hotel network — and found that high-volume users made up a full 36 percent of the company's revenue in New York, despite only making up six percent of users.
In theory, state laws should allow Airbnb to operate legally in New York. The law clearly allows for tenants to rent out rooms of their apartment or home, and only prohibits rentals for vacant apartments or when the original tenant is not present during the stay. Still, the company has maintained a complicated relationship with New York's state government, with many in Albany seeing the service as a threat to the hotel industry and a drain on the housing market. This latest report suggests that illegal rentals are still alive and well on Airbnb's marketplace, adding fuel to speculation that the Attorney General's office might take action against the company.