Airbnb, the popular online platform for renting out couches and spare rooms, is earning tens of millions of dollars off illegal listings in New York City, the state attorney general said Thursday.
In a new report based on an examination of 35,354 short-term rentals on the site between January 2010 and June 2, 2014, attorney general’s office found that 72 percent of the listings flouted local laws, all the while helping Airbnb to earn nearly $40 million.
“Commercial users,” which controlled more than 10 different apartments, were also making a bonanza off Airbnb listings, earning some $59.4 million in revenue, the report said. The attorney general’s office also said “numerous units appear to serve as illegal hostels.”
“This report raises serious concerns about the proliferation of illegal hotels and the impact of Airbnb and sites like it on the city of New York,” Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said in a statement.
The report also found that Airbnb listings are concentrated in “gentrified neighborhoods” like Greenwich Village, SoHo and Chelsea, while less than three percent are found in Queens, the Bronx and Staten island.
A spokesman for Airbnb said in an email that the report’s conclusions relied on “incomplete and outdated information.”