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While companies that make money off disrupting regulated industries will frequently find themselves facing legal challenges, rarely do these companies wind up with a nemesis.
Unfortunately for Airbnb, a large property management company's legal actions against the short-term rental disrupter are rising to that level. The federal lawsuit Aimco brought against Airbnb in California was recently dismissed; however, their similar case in Florida's state court has now survived a motion to dismiss.
The lawsuits against Airbnb stem from lessees in Aimco's buildings who violate the terms of their lease with Aimco by listing their rentals on Airbnb. And though Airbnb and Aimco are not in privity, Aimco has demanded that Airbnb not allow their tenants to list Aimco properties on Airbnb. Airbnb has maintained that when an Aimco tenant violates the lease with Aimco, that's Aimco's problem. The California court basically agreed.
Interestingly, the California federal case was dismissed at this stage, while the Florida state case will continue on.
According to 11th Circuit Court Judge William Thomas, Aimco's complaint suggests that Airbnb is involved in helping users post their listings in a way that doesn't exempt them from liability, as the California federal court concluded.
If it is found that Airbnb acts as more than a platform and actually helps hosts create the content that gets posted, the case could see some real forward momentum. Currently, Aimco is planning an appeal of the California case.
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