The data has to do with hosts and reservations on Airbnb’s platform, and will be partially anonymized, Airbnb confirmed Friday. The deal to hand over the data was finalized on May 14, following several months of negotiations between city and company officials, according to legal documents Airbnb provided to Inman.
Just days after Airbnb and the city reached their agreement, a judge also ordered Airbnb to turn over additional data to city regulators.
Wired first reported news of the agreement to hand over data to the city.
In a statement to Inman Friday, Airbnb explained that “we have long said that we want to work with the City on an effective regulatory framework and we recognize data sharing is an important part of that.”
The data sharing deal is the result of a subpoena New York City issued in February. The subpoena demanded data on bookings that took place between Jan. 1, 2018 and Feb. 18, 2019.
City officials specifically wanted information on Airbnb stays that lasted less than 30 days and involved entire apartments — a type of booking that is actually illegal in New York. The city also wanted data on certain Airbnb listings for private and shared rooms.
The subpoena was the latest salvo in a years-long battle between Airbnb and New York City. And on the day that New York issued the subpoena, Mayor Bill de Blasio said the city wanted “to see what’s really going on” and “we want to make sure there’s not illegal hotels.”
— Mayor Bill de Blasio (@NYCMayor) February 19, 2019
De Blasio also said that “people are worried about the loss of housing, the loss of affordable housing.”
The comment highlighted one of the major complaints — which has arisen from numerous places — about Airbnb: That it reduces the supply of housing in cities that are already expensive and struggling to keep roofs over the heads of locals.
Some past research has indeed connected Airbnb to higher rents and home prices, both generally and in New York specifically, and the company has been the subject of crack downs in other cities as well.
However, the company has nevertheless expanded rapidly and just this week announced a new partnership with genetic testing company 23andMe. Additionally, Airbnb is expected to go public later this year.
New York City’s Office of Special Enforcement, which issued the subpoenas for Airbnb’s data, did not immediately respond to Inman’s request for comment Friday.
While neither Airbnb’s growth nor its tensions with municipalities are likely to go away any time soon, the company did indicate that its new data sharing agreement could help resolve the ongoing conflicts it has faced with regulators in New York.
“We hope that our compliance with this subpoena — by providing data in line with our shared enforcement priorities against illegal hotel operators — is a first step toward finding such a solution that is consistent with Airbnb’s legal rights and obligations,” the company added in its statement, “and allows us to share the kind of actionable data with the level of precision that the City needs.”
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