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Judge Blocks New York City Law Meant to Curb Airbnb Rentals

A federal judge blocked a New York City law designed to curb home-sharing apps and sites like Airbnb and HomeAway in a Thursday ruling, The New York Times reports. Judge Paul A. Engelmayer of U.S. District Court in Manhattan reportedly granted the two platforms’ request for an injunction preventing the law, which would require them to disclose “detailed information about tens of thousands of listings” to the city monthly,” from taking effect. The law would also require the platforms to share the “addresses of its listings and the identities of its hosts” with the city, the newspaper reports. Judge Engelmayer ruled that the law, which was set to take effect this month, violated the Fourth Amendment against illegal searches and seizures. Airbnb told the Times the ruling was “a huge win for Airbnb and its users,” along with “thousands of New Yorkers at risk of illegal surveillance.”

New York City officials, who have argued that home-sharing platforms operate as “illegal hotels” and make the city’s housing shortage worse, insisted the law would “ultimately prevail” in court. “We have a huge city with a lot of Airbnb activity and a lot of concern in our neighborhoods and, unfortunately, a lot of examples of abuse,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said at a Thursday news conference. “To put a strong data regimen in place made all the sense in the world.”