Jan 2, 2018

Airbnb beats landlord company in home-sharing lawsuit

A woman browses the site of US home sharing giant Airbnb. Photo: John Macougall / AFP via Getty Images

Airbnb has defeated a lawsuit by Apartment Investment & Management Company, one of the largest residential landlords in the U.S., that claimed the home-sharing company promoted and profited from tenants who broke their leases through unauthorized sublets.

The ruling: A federal judge in Los Angeles sided with Airbnb's claim that the company is protected under the Communications Decency Act, which ruled that online service providers aren't liable for the content users post, according to Bloomberg. The judge said that the Airbnb hosts, not Airbnb, are responsible for the listing information that AIMCO deemed "illegal."

The backdrop: AIMCO claimed that the suit centered on concerns over that Airbnb guests might damage its properties or bother other tenants. But as Axios' Kia Kokalitcheva pointed out when the suit was first filed in February, AIMCO's financial interest was "hard to miss" — Airbnb makes all of the money in its home-sharing services, while the landlords make none.

In an effort to appease landlords and building owners, Airbnb unveiled a "Friendly Buildings Program" that shared data about the tenant's activity and gave them a cut of the earnings.

Statement from Airbnb: "The partnerships we have established with landlords have made it clear that home sharing can be a win-win situation for everyone," Airbnb spokesman Nick Papas said in a statement. "[The program] allows tenants to leverage their greatest expense to make extra money and can create new economic opportunities for landlords."

Take note: AIMCO also filed a separate lawsuit against Airbnb in Florida, so the fight isn't officially over just yet.

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Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 6 p.m. ET: 1,500,830 — Total deaths: 87,706 — Total recoveries: 317,855Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 6 p.m. ET: 423,135 — Total deaths: 14,390 — Total recoveries: 23,127Map.
  3. Federal government latest: Top Trump administration officials had been developing a plan to give cloth masks to huge numbers of Americans, but the idea lost traction amid heavy internal skepticism.
  4. States latest: Chicago's Cook County jail is largest-known source of coronavirus in U.S.
  5. Business update: One-third of U.S. jobs are at risk of disappearing, mostly affecting low-income workers.
  6. World update: WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus urged countries to put politics aside "if you don’t want to have many more body bags.”
  7. Environment update: COVID-19 is underscoring the connection between air pollution and dire outcomes from respiratory diseases.
  8. What should I do? Pets, moving and personal healthAnswers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk.
  9. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

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The pandemic and pollution

New York City's skyline on a smoggy day in May 2019. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

COVID-19 is underscoring the connection between air pollution and dire outcomes from respiratory diseases.

Why it matters: Old-fashioned air pollution is almost certainly the single biggest environmental health threat, contributing to the deaths of some 7 million people a year according to the WHO, making it comparable to deaths from smoking.

Go deeperArrow15 mins ago - Health

U.S. coronavirus updates: Chicago jail is largest-known source of coronavirus

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Chicago's Cook County jail is the largest-known source of coronavirus infections in the U.S., the New York Times reports. The White House has identified Chicago's metro area as a risk for exponential growth of the virus.

Why it matters: Public health officials have warned this would be a particularly deadly week for America, even as New York began to see declining trends of hospitalizations and ICU admissions.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 1 hour ago - Health