Airbnb has agreed to reveal the identities of 124 hosts who use its apartment-rental service to New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, the company said in a blog post on Friday.
Earlier this year, the online service agreed to provide Schneiderman’s office with anonymous information about 16,000 Airbnb hosts in New York City. The agreement also came with the understanding that the state could request the names and addresses of users who the state suspects of illegal activity.
The deal came after the state of New York filed multiple subpoenas for Airbnb’s user data to determine if any users were violating New York law barring landlords from renting out apartments for less than 30 days when the resident is not present. Schneiderman claims that some people have turned their apartments into defacto hotels, In the process, the state has lost out on millions of dollars in unpaid taxes, he says. Normally, New York hotels pay a 15% occupancy tax that Airbnb hosts have so far avoided.
The company’s head of public policy, David Hantman, said in Airbnb’s blog post that “this request represents an incredibly small fraction of our New York hosting community – far less than 1 percent.” He adds that the company has already reached out to each of the 124 hosts individually. Those hosts all operated multiple listings and most of them are no longer active on the website.
Airbnb itself scanned its service for “bad actors” earlier this year and removed more than 2,000 listings from its own community. “As this process progresses, we will continue to strive to be as transparent as possible,” Hantman wrote.
At the beginning of this month, Airbnb closed a $475 million funding round that brings the total amount of funding the company has raised north of $800 million.