NYC's cottage industry of hunting Airbnb scofflaws
New York City has an Office of Special Enforcement that spends 95% of its time investigating rentals for possible violation of state and local laws — many of which are arranged on websites like AirBnb, Bloomberg reports. And the hotel industry and labor groups are only too eager to help, hiring their own private investigators to rat out AirBnb hosts who flout a ban on short-term sublets.
Why it matters: These self-styled rental vigilantes are just one example of how incumbent industries are leveraging state and local regulators to resist competition from online upstarts and emergent technologies. In other cases, taxi interests have helped ban Uber in places like Nevada, and utilities have worked to stop the spread of rooftop solar panels for residential real estate.