More legal obstacles to Internet platforms: Now also Airbnb

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The announced digital disruption is reaching all sectors, while traditional participants in the sector, instead of modernizing to compete, turn to governments to legislate in their favor, slowing progress and, in general, against consumers . The pioneer was Uber, which immediately aroused complaints from taxi drivers and, as a consequence, has been banned in different parts of the world, including Spain. They have also had to do with justice other platforms such as BlaBlaCar, denounced in Spain by Confebus, the bus employer. Now it is the turn of Airbnb, specifically, in upstate New York.

Due to numerous complaints about unfair competition, received from hotels and hostels, New York State has approved a bill that, in case of going forward, would ban users from Internet apartment rental platforms such as Airbnb Post short-term apartment rental advertisements on the Internet.

The bill, approved Friday by the New York State Senate, will now go to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, who could ratify it, veto it or allow it to become law without his signature.

New York law already prohibits rentals of less than 30 days for entire apartments (without the presence of a resident), but until now, the posting of ads had not been explicitly prohibited of this type of rentals. Under the new legislation, users who post these types of ads may have to deal with fines of up to $ 7,500 in case of recidivism. Specifically, it would be $ 1,000 the first time, $ 3,000 the second, and $ 7,500 the third.

The decision involves a new blow for internet platforms like Airbnb, who base a large part of their business on these types of rentals.

In May of this year, the ban on renting entire flats for short stays also came into force in Berlin. In this case, in addition to the complaints from the hotel union, the city council claims to have made that decision to try to stop the rise in house prices in the city, which increased by up to 50% between 2009 and 2014. Violators under German city law could face fines of up to 100,000 euros and the authorities have encouraged individuals to report their neighbors if they see any kind of suspicious activity.

For its part, Airbnb claims that its service is not incompatible with tourism and that it also helps residents pay for high rents in big cities.

A platform similar to Airbnb, called Windu, has announced that has filed a lawsuit against this new regulation, It significantly hurts your business.

Other European cities like Paris have opted for less drastic measures, imposing a tax on Airbnb rentals.

Among the affected companies by the new New York law there are also Expedia's HomeAway and VRBO services.

The passage of this bill in New York Reopens the eternal debate on digital disruption and whether or not this type of protectionist measures favoring traditional companies in front of the new startups digital. While it is true that they can avoid layoffs in these traditional business sectors, such as taxis or hotels, they harm consumers, main beneficiaries of the appearance of new companies, in addition to stopping progress.

Source: NBC News

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