Airbnb’s steely legal team is no stranger to litigation, whether defending an array of lawsuits around the globe or bringing their own fight to municipalities that stand in way of their conquest, including their home turf of San Francisco. After some scrapes and bruises with both wins and losses in their column, the battle-tested leader in short-term rentals just beat a game-changing lawsuit in California that threatened its very business model.
Themselves a goliath with roughly 50,000 properties under its management, Denver-based Aimco brought dual lawsuits in Florida and California, claiming that Airbnb was deliberately incentivizing people to breach their leases. More than just passively providing a platform for property listings, Airbnb is complicit in lease violations as a broker of short-term rental agreements and a processor of payments, was the gist of Aimco’s argument.
After some legal wrangling and gambits that did not prevail, Airbnb said in essence, “it wasn’t me” and cited the Communications Decency Act, a federal law that gives internet companies immunity for content that users or random people post on their sites. The nine-year-old company was not responsible for any havoc that was wrecked by guests, they submitted, and a federal judge agreed.