Airbnb Can’t Dodge Aimco’s Illegal Sublease Claims in Miami

Miami Beach, Florida, U.S.

Photographer: Christina Mendenhall/Bloomberg

A Florida state court judge on Wednesday denied Airbnb’s request to throw out Apartment Investment & Management Co.’s claims under the Communications Decency Act, a federal statute that shields online service providers from lawsuits over content posted by their users.

“The allegations in the complaint suggest that Airbnb does far more than just post listings,” Circuit Court Judge William Thomas said in his decision. “A website may not be immune where it contributes materially to the alleged illegality of the conduct.”

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A federal judge in Los Angeles agreed with Airbnb in December that it couldn’t be sued by Aimco, one of the largest residential landlords in the U.S., just because Aimco’s tenants posted rentals that violated their lease agreements. It’s the Airbnb hosts, not the company, who are responsible for the listings, the judge said.

“Despite losing the exact same claims in a California federal court last year, and being denied its demand for an injunction in Florida, Aimco has continued to pursue its anti-tenant policies in this copycat case in Florida,” Airbnb spokesman Christopher Nulty said in a statement. “We are confident Airbnb will ultimately prevail in this case, as we did in California, and today’s order does not resolve the case. Instead, it finds only that Aimco’s claims cannot be dismissed based solely on the allegations in its complaint.”

The case is Bay Park Plaza Apartments LP v. Airbnb Inc., 2017-003624-CA-01, Eleventh Circuit Court, Miami-Dade County, Florida.