Airbnb is an online real estate sharing service that helps individuals, referred to as “hosts,” to rent short-term lodging or unoccupied living space to guests.
Mishelle, a host, started an online petition trying to get the attention of the New York legislature to legalize sharing and fix the slumlord policy.
The petition comes after the New York State demanded with a subpoena that Airbnb hand over confidential user records, including tax information, home addresses of users who rent out their apartments in New York City, affecting approximately 15,000 users.
Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, the one behind the subpoena, wants to see if New York hosts are violating a 2010 law aimed at stopping the spread of illegal hotels. Under the law, it is illegal for New York City residents to rent out their apartments for fewer than 30 days.
Airbnb filed a motion last week to block the subpoena.
Mishelle says she is trying to make a living and says the New York government is accusing her and Airnb users of being “slumlords” or a landlord that gets money while cheating tenants.
“As a New Yorker just trying to pay my bills, I don’t understand why they think I’m a slumlord. Let’s remove any confusion. I’ve created a petition to fix the law once and for all,” said Mishelle.
The petition currently has 3,500 signatures and needs 20,000 or more to reach the goal.
Mishelle goes on to say if enough signatures are on the petition, she will hand deliver it to the Senate herself.
“I figure that if we get 20,000 people to sign the petition, we’ll get the State Senate’s attention. If we hit that goal by October 20th, I pledge to deliver the signatures to every Senator myself,” said Mishelle.
New York’s lawsuit against Airbnb may result in the company shutting down or being forced to comply with the law and charge renters a hotel tax which would go to the city.